Trust Freddy Herald Correspondent
Zimbabweans have welcomed the position taken by President Mnangagwa to pardon illicit firearms owners as violent crimes involving guns soar in the country.
This comes during an ongoing blitz to enable holders of unlicensed firearms to surrender their weapons with no charges being preferred against them. Yesterday, a number of people said they were optimistic that the intentions of the Government to curb gun related crimes will be achieved through this amnesty.
Kimberly Hawadi of Zimre Park said it was a welcome development and described the recent upsurge in gun related crimes as a national threat.
“I am glad that the government is treating this as a national security threat. We don’t want to reach a point where we witness gun shootings in public places. We cannot normalize the abnormal, all criminals should utilize this grace period,” she said
Mrs Paida Moyo Dirwai of Glenview applauded President Mnangagwa for granting amnesty to unlicensed firearms owners saying the move will reduce violent crimes that have been on the rise recently.
“Making it very difficult for people to have access to firearms will play a significant role in reducing violent crimes. It is common knowledge that the majority of violent crimes committed since the start of the year are being done with the aid of firearms.,” she said.
Another citizen, Raynald Ngwarati said he was glad that the move would not cause any casualties to the civilians.
“It is not always the case that you have to use force when solving problems. In this case we applaud the Government for taking an amicable way in solving disputes.
“This will maintain peace because if a person just voluntarily goes to give up his firearm there won’t be exchange of gunfire, loss of lives and no one would be injured.
“It clearly shows that they have people at heart, we don’t want to end up losing precious lives in the name of enforcing laws,” he said.
Moses applauded the presidents for granting amnesty saying the move will not only reduce crime violent crimes but it will also reduce suicide rates.
“Gun related suicide rates are increasing. We are obviously expecting a drop in number of suicidal cases. In the world guns cause far more suicides than all other things combined, we should not even tolerate guns in our community so we really appreciate the efforts that are being put by the government to limit gun possession, “he said.
“Countries that have very tight gun control laws, have significantly fewer violent crimes than other countries. For example, South Africa and Zimbabwe, but we don’t want to report any single case so the government should maintain that pace,’’ he said.
However, Kudzai Mandirahwe of Waterfalls called for more awareness on how guns should be handled following the death of an owner licensed holders of firearms for there are certain people who should never have access to guns.
“People are acting out of ignorance, there is a need for more awareness on how to handle firearms. Most of the guns that are being used to commit heinous crimes were inherited, many are keeping guns of their deceased relatives which end up falling in wrong hands not knowing it is a crime,” he said. He also said it was good news to Waterfalls residents who are being terrorised by armed robberies.
“When I heard about the amnesty I breathed a sigh of relief. We are tired of being terrorised by armed robberies in Waterfalls and they are mainly targeting business people. This will definitely go a long way in curtailing these heinous crimes, “he added.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) national police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said police were still collecting data and will soon release statistics of unlicensed gun holders who are submitting their firearms.
“It is too early for us to release the number of people who have surrendered their firearms up to date. Probably, we should wait for a week and we will give you the exact figure,” he said.
Unconfirmed reports suggest most of these firearms are being smuggled from neighbouring countries where there seems to be a lax gun control policy and the smugglers take advantage of the porous borders.
Last week, armed robbers raided a cash in transit vehicle at Mukuru Money Transfer Agency in Bulawayo before stealing US$100 000 and over R500 000.