Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bikita land dispute: Headman battles for life
January 21, 2014
George Maponga in Masvingo

One of two village heads locked in a boundary dispute in Mukanganwi communal lands is reportedly battling for his life at Silveira Mission Hospital after he was severely assaulted by a group of women angered by the ongoing demolition of homes belonging to Rozvi clan members in Bikita.

Mr Richard Mukari (age not given), who is the Vanhukwavo village head, is said to have sustained severe injuries yesterday morning when he was allegedly pummelled with logs and sticks by a group of women.

The women oppose the eviction of 26 Masunda families from their ancestral land. The Zimbabwe Chiefs’ Council called on the feuding village heads to promote peaceful co-existence between their different clans.

Police yesterday descended on the restive area and arrested several people in connection with the alleged assault of Mr Mukari and related violence.

Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Chief Inspector Peter Zhanero said; “We have just received information that there are people who were beaten in Bikita in connection with a boundary dispute between two clans. We do not have information on how many people were injured and the extent of the injuries.

“We have made some arrests but we cannot give the exact number of those arrested because screening of the suspects is still ongoing. We will only give full details once we get all the facts on the table.”

Sources said women from Furanyi village, accompanied by youths, confronted Mr Mukari and demanded to know why he was evicting Masunda family members from the land of their fathers.

The situation degenerated into violence with the women and youths using logs, sticks and other weapons to beat him resulting in him sustaining severe body injuries.

ZCC president Chief Fortune Charumbira said clannish and tribal divisions had no place in communities.
“While the matter is now before the courts, we feel there was no need to rush to the courts for a solution over a mere boundary dispute between two village heads. There should have been an attempt to exhaust the arbitration by our traditional leadership,” he said.

Mr Mukari,a member of the dominant Duma clan in Bikita, won a High Court order to the families last year. Five homes have already been razed to the ground.

Things took a nasty turn last week when villagers in Masunda violently blocked the Deputy Sheriff and police from carrying out further evictions.

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