COMMENT: President’s 53-day arms amnesty commendable

The Chronicle

ACCORDING to Amnesty International, easy access to firearms — whether legal or illegal — is one of the main drivers of gun violence. The solution, the human rights watchdog states, is strict regulation of firearms which is the most effective way of reducing gun violence.

The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Protocol on the control of firearms, ammunition and related materials is a major step in the regulation of guns and in ending gun violence.

The Sadc Protocol seeks to regulate the import and export of legal small arms and promote harmonisation of national legislation across member states on the manufacture and ownership of small arms and light weapons.

As we report elsewhere in this issue, President Mnangagwa has granted a 53-day amnesty to holders of unregistered firearms and ammunition, including those in possession of smuggled firearms to surrender the weapons to any nearest police station without any questions being asked.

President Mnangagwa

The amnesty runs from August 8 to September 30 and was granted in terms of Article 12 of the Sadc Protocol on the control of firearms, ammunition and related materials.

Gun violence does not discriminate. The cancer is actually rifer in developed countries, especially the United States of America where 45 222 people died from gun-related injuries in 2020.

Early this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that 54 percent of all US gun-related deaths in 2020 were suicides, while 43 percent were murders.

Generally, it is agreed that America’s major shortfall in dealing with gun violence is the law.

It is, therefore, commendable that Sadc has grabbed the bull by the horns to end gun violence in a co-ordinated manner in the region.


Without harmonisation of national legislation across member states, gun smuggling can continue to perpetuate gun violence in all countries.

Given, the gun violence scourge is worse in some countries, but it is still a problem for all.

Guns are not toys. They are not for everyone.

It is important for guns to be difficult to get and to ensure that those who own them follow the law. The 53-day amnesty issued by President Mnangagwa will allow for the reduction of illegal firearms as well as regularisation of licensed guns.

Police have said some licensed firearm holders are no longer renewing their firearm certificates or even notifying the authorities about the change in residential or business addresses to enable constant checks to be made by the police on the status of the firearms.

Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi

“No criminal charges will be preferred to members of the public during this period as long as one complies with the provisions of the Presidential Amnesty,” said the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) national spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi.

He said police will be making physical checks on residential and business premises that it suspects could be keeping illegal firearms.

We commend the noble move by President Mnangagwa and the ZRP in ending gun violence. Sadc has managed to largely remain a peaceful region through the co-operation and commitment of member states.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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