By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Bulawayo, August 26, 2016 – CONSERVATIVE Ndebeles based in the country’s second largest city have slammed a recent police ban on traditional weapons, saying the ban was an affront to their culture.
Police in Bulawayo announced a ban in the carrying of weapons such as knobkerries, knives, catapults, machetes and daggers.
Officer Commanding Bulawayo West District, Chief Superintendent Mthokozisi Manzini Moyo, said the ban was in terms of the country’s Public Order and Security Act.
He said the decision was a preemptive measure to protect citizens as tensions remain high in a country that has witnessed a recent wave of street protests by citizens demanding the current government’s ouster for poor leadership.
However, the ban on weapons, some of which have been a feature in Ndebele traditions for years, have been viewed as an indirect attack on the culture.
“The recent revelations by Manzini are mind boggling especially coming from a senior police officer,” said Bulawayo based activist Gift Ostallos Siziba.
“Manzini seems to be out of historical touch with the Ndebele culture; the law is a bi-product of culture hence it should not degrade or corrode the people’s way of life exhibited in a manner they see fit.”
The former student leader and now activist with pro-democracy movements in Bulawayo said the weapon ban was unconstitutional.
“We are a proud society with a history that is full of scars of a top-down, centralists approach to decision making, this reflects how Zimbabwe has turned into a failed state.
“The ban is draconian and unconstitutional, and it is us the citizens who will fight to defend our culture. The political situation will instead worsen due to reasons that are known to all. Mugabe is mediocre,” he said.
Siziba instead blamed the current problems in Bulawayo on police excesses.
Hapson Ncube, an activist with the #Mugabemustfall group also bemoaned the weapon ban which he said would affect the livelihoods of people who have relied on creating them for resale to those who need them for domestic use.
“The ban is an intimidation strategy on the citizens who are victims of the Zanu PF youths in Zimbabwe Republic Police uniform; this means those who are selling knives on the streets to earn a living will be arrested in this desperate bid,” said Ncube.