AN indigenous farmer is reportedly battling for life at Masvingo General Hospital after he was struck with an axe on the head by suspected war veterans at the weekend in a new wave of farm invasions targeting black farm owners.
A second farmer’s car and house were torched in skirmishes that have left the Masvingo farming community shell shocked.
Mufaro Mukaro was initially admitted at Ndanga District Hospital on Sunday, but was later transferred to Masvingo General Hospital yesterday as his condition deteriorated.
He was reportedly rushed to the hospital with the axe still stuck in his head.
So critical is Mukaro’s condition that even his relatives are not being allowed to visit him except his wife.
Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Charity Mazula could not be reached for comment as her phone went unanswered. Sources said the 10 war veterans linked to the violent acts were arrested.
The case was reported under police case number RRB 2098509.
Tsaurai Lawrence Stemere (76), who owns Sundowns Farm, said he survived the brutal attack on Saturday, but his Nissan Twin Cab vehicle was reduced to a shell and his house was set ablaze by
the marauding war veterans.
Stemere lost property worth thousands of dollars, including his clothing and was only left with what he was wearing.
“I am lucky to be alive. We sped off after they barricaded the road with tree branches and started pelting us with stones,” he said.
“They then hit Mukaro with an axe in the head after smashing his car while he was inside.
“They were so heartless. Mukaro was then rushed to Ndanga Hospital and I went home.
“I found my farmhouse torched and my car reduced to ashes,” the visibly shaken Stemere told our sister paper Southern Eye yesterday.
Stemere said he bought the farm in 1995 before the government’s land reform programme and estimated that he lost property valued at $70 000 in the inferno.
Masvingo North MP Davis Marapira, who is also Agriculture deputy minister, confirmed the disturbances and said it was against government policy to invade black-owned farms.
“That is very illegal to occupy black-owned farms. It is against the laws of the country,” he said.
“The invaders are taking the law into their own hands.
“Right now they left a farmer critically injured and another without his property.
“We do not encourage that.”
The ex-fighters allegedly accused the black owners of underutilising their land.
Late last year, anti-riot police evicted around 300 land invaders from the same farms and torched their shacks.
War veteran Ruben Chikono has since been dragged to the Masvingo Magistrates’ Court charged with inciting the former combatants to invade the farms. His case is still pending.
Some of the farms that have been invaded include Nidspruit, Potyo Farm, Thankerton Farm, Chigumedhe, Mudzikisi, Chipare, Pakai and Mukuta.
Similar cases have been reported in Goromonzi, just outside Harare.