This story caught my attention, not based on its own merit, but because it is the latest in an endless string of arrests in the Eastern Highlands. The amazing thing about mbanje heists in this part of the country is the HUGE quantities involved.
In November 2009, the Zimbabwe Republic Police in Nyanga arrested seven men suspected to be part of a drug trafficking syndicate. They had with them 1 400kg of weed with an estimated street value of US$1,4 million.
You got that number? One thousand four hundred kilogrammes of splif!
Then in January last year, once again in the Eastern Highlands, a war veteran who invaded Roy Bennett’s Pachedu farm in Chimanimani was arrested for growing mbanje.
That same month a man from Epworth in Harare, was arrested with 130Kg of mbanje valued at US$13, 000. The Eastern Highlands link? The man said he had brought the dagga in from Mozambique through Mutare.
In a seemingly unrelated development, there has been a spate of incidents in Mutare were people strip and dance naked at funerals. Quoting an article about this development, “Of late, funerals and burials in the high-density suburbs have degenerated into platforms of nudity in which mourners indulge in all sorts of misdemeanour.”
That got me laughing. And I was tempted to ask, “Hadzisi mbanje idzodzi (is this not the effects of weed)?
Officer commanding police in Mutare Urban District, Chief Superintendent Winston Muzah, was quoted as saying. "We cannot have a situation whereby people strip naked at funerals. That is taboo and criminal. As police, we do not condone such acts and we are on the alert for any repeat of such behaviour.”
My comment to the officer is perhaps if you dealt with the mbanje situation this would not happen?
So, it’s either our eastern neighbour Mozambique is a rich source of weed or the fertile pastures of the Eastern Highlands are producing more than just coffee, tea and cotton.
Whatever the case, all evidence points to the fact that there is a lot of mbanje in the Eastern Highlands. No, I mean, a LOOOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTT of it.
If you ever want a whiff and are interested in getting arrested ‘movie style’ come with me to Nyanga or Mutare!
Big Ziso is getting high.