Black-on-black farm violence erupts

In spite of a government announcement that land invasions are over, a new wave of violent black-on-black occupations is underway.

Rugare Gumbo
Rugare Gumbo

Violence broke out in Masvingo last Saturday when people purporting to be war veterans besieged Sundowns Farm owned by Tsaurai Lawrence Stemere (76), resulting in another farmer, Mufaro Mukaro, being struck with an axe. He was hospitalised at Ndanga Hospital where he is battling for his life.

Zanu (PF) spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said: “We are clear on the issue of invasions. Whether it's war veterans or any other people, we do not condone illegal farm invasions, more so when they are black on black. It is unacceptable. There must be some people who are abusing the war veterans tag. If they are indeed war veterans, it is possible they are being used by some forces we don't know.”

Reports indicate that Stemere, who said he bought his farm in 1995, survived the attack but his Nissan Twin Cab and farmhouse were burnt and he lost property worth an estimated $70,000.

He fled the scene after the attackers barricaded the road to his farm with tree branches and started hurling stones at the farm occupants. Mukaro was hit with an axe as he sat in his car and had to be rushed to hospital with the weapon stuck in the head.

The 10 assailants were arrested. They had reportedly accused the two farmers of underutilising their land. Masvingo North legislator, Davis Marapira, confirmed the incident, saying government was against the invasion of black-owned farms.

Some senior army and government officials have refused to vacate conservancies and properties they illegally occupied, saying there should be a land audit to fish out multiple farm owners first.

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