The vexed question of what role the public should play in fighting crime is again dominating the headlines. This comes after a video of supposed artisanal miners went viral. In the video a group of men are seen torturing an alleged thief.
Reportedly there has been a sharp rise in the number of cases of artisanal miners taking the law into their own hands. This in many cases in attempts to respond to or resolve disputes or issues.
The issue of street justice and brutally dealing with thieves in the streets and neighbourhoods is not new to Zimbabwe.
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Conversely, when members of the public take the law into their own hands, they punish someone or do something to put a situation right, instead of waiting for the police or the legal system to take action.
Nonetheless, in most if not all cases when the public take the law into their own hand they themselves break the law, they commit a crime in the very process.
A video currently in circulation of a young man being tortured by a gang of men believed to be Zimbabwean artisanal miners has highlighted the levels of brutality involved in the artisanal gold mining trade.
Most often than not those in this trade commonly known as (mashurugwi) or Makorokoza are known to be adept at executing violence and taking the law into their own hands to settle disputes.
Many-a-dead- bodies, are believed to be buried in disused mine-shafts and shallow graves strewn across the bushes where these miners search for the lucrative metal across Zimbabwe.
But that said it is this latest brutal video that has gone viral which highlights the barbarity and savagery involved in the makorokoza business (artisanal gold mining).
The young man in the video is accused of having a gun and stealing equipment and cash amounting six thousand USDollars.
They appear to be burning his feet with a red hot metal bar, forcing a confession out of him.
He tells them that his friend has ‘the gun hidden in the bush’ and that he can go and give them the stolen goods and the cash.
He also tells them that the money (the six thousand USDollars) is with his landlord. He pleads with them to untie him from the torture contraption. He says he will lead them to where the money is.
Sadly, the men torturing him don’t seem too keen on releasing him.
The continue to punish him ordering him to only speak when answering questions.
It is still unclear who these individuals are and if the young thief who stole from these seemingly brutal thugs survived this ordeal.
There have been mixed reactions to this video from Zimbabweans across many social media platforms.
Many commentators bemoaned the fact that the levels of violence and criminality was reflective of a society that had lost its moral compass and integrity, due to corruption in the nation’s leadership.
Others opined that they felt nothing for criminals, suggesting that the young man got what he deserved.
This is what happens when corruption clouds society and individuals feel the need to take the law into their own hands and act with such impunity and disregard for the law.
Indeed, it’s a jungle out there, as such he with the strongest arm rules the roost.
It is clear that the police need to maintain public support to prevent increasing numbers of people taking the law into their own hands. It is less clear how the Zimbabwe Republic Police can achieve this given the majority of the public in Zimbabwe think they are open to corruption. The police in Zimbabwe are not rated as anywhere near professional and are perpetrators of the worst violence themselves.
Many Zimbabwean citizens believe any thief with the right amount of bribery can get away with anything even murder.