Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Hundreds in illegal bid to settle farms

Hundreds in illegal bid to settle on farms

Herald, Monday, 14 February 2011
By Elita Chikwati

Hundreds of people have tried to illegally move onto three farms in Seke district along Beatrice Road in as yet unclear circumstances. The people do not have formal ownership documents such as offer letters and leases and started occupying the farms last Tuesday. Unadale Estate, and Chisandtsa and Kimcote farms are affected. The settlers – armed with axes, machetes and knobkerries – allegedly threatened workers at Chisandtsa Farm. At Unadale Estate, the invaders are pegging land a distance from the farmhouse and compound and have not interrupted operations there. At Chisandtsa Farm, they pegged their plots in the farm owner’s 60 hectares of tobacco and 40 hectares maize. Chisandtsa Farm owner Mr Foster Gwanzura said his workers fled the   fields where they were reaping tobacco.

“The people came in the morning and started pegging their plots in my tobacco and maize fields. They threatened my workers and told them they were the new owners of the land .. . some of them were armed,” he said.

Affected farmers said the settlers’ motive was unclear but some of them came in luxury vehicles, showing they were well-off people. There were top-of-the-range Land Rovers and other 4×4 vehicles as well as plush sedans.
At Kimcote Farm the settlers have established a base named “Chadya Mukonde” – a name denoting anger and aggression.

Kimcote owner, Mr Douglas Gondo, said he suspected some of them had tried to move onto the land last year under the direction of a man who identified himself as Gombiro. He established a homestead at Kimcote Farm and when The Herald visited, he had fled police who had come to arrest him on Wednesday night. Mr Gondo said: “We had to call the police to disperse the group as the invaders were violent.”

Most of the settlers fled when police descended on them last week. Police also destroyed their base at Kimcote Farm. However, they returned and planted a mukonde tree at the base after police had uprooted it.

Police Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka last week said the situation was under control.

“While everyone has a right to land, proper channels should be followed,” he said.


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