Analysis

Armed robberies: Has Zimbabwe become the wild, wild West?

THE level of lawlessness in Zimbabwe is shocking. Highway robberies have become commonplace. In relatively quick succession there have been three robberies on cash-in transit vehicles.

The latest happened at Chivi Growth Point, where armed robbers got away with US$35 000, R350 000 and ZW$2 000 (US$24).  The money was being delivered to a money transfer agency Mukuru at the growth point.

An earlier robbery had happened in the same manner in Gokwe. Besides these high profile robberies lots of money has been whisked away through robbery almost on a weekly basis.

Has Zimbabwe become the wild, wild west? The Wild West was an era in America “of cowboys, Indians, pioneers, outlaws and gunslingers brought together by the purposes of expansion, defence, greed and reinvention”.

But why has such high profile crime emerged in Zimbabwe? Most of it looks pretty well organised and very likely involves people with military training.

What this means is police should look among retired and even serving policemen and soldiers for the perpetrators of these criminal acts. The robbers look well connected and it’s not too far-fetched to say all these “smart” robberies are based on inside information. The robbers are always at the right place at the right time.

But why haven’t security companies that ferry loads of money to remote areas thought of involving the police in the movement of money in the first place?

Money-in-transit vehicles should move in police convoys. But our police service being incapacitated as it is probably doesn’t have the armoured vehicles that would help.

But security companies should also be held liable for these robberies. It’s clear their own people are involved and so should transition from using road vehicles to using helicopters which are faster and safer because even our sharpest criminals haven’t gone airborne yet in their criminal exploits.

But if cash-in transit heists should worry everyone, the gold wars should really awaken government to the extent of the problem.

Another thing that must concern the powers that be and the common Zimbabwean citizenry is the ready availability and proliferation of arms in the country. These armed robberies and gun battles between rival gold buccaneers show that the country can explode any time into war.

Insurgences such as that ravaging the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delagado must have begun with a few armed bandits looking for loot before they managed to create a cause. Now the small insurgence has turned into a full blown war.

The same could happen to Zimbabwe. – Independent

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