TWO new farmers shot at Ariston Holdings’ Roscommon Estate in Chimanimani on Monday, one of them fatally, had offer letters from Government authorising them to settle on the land.
Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba said the brutal act signified resistance by commercial farmers to share land with indigenous people.
Roscommon Estate security guard Nicholas Bere fatally shot Mr Beware Tsarai and injured Mr Shingai Mafake, who is admitted at Mutambara Mission Hospital.
Bere has since been arrested on a murder charge.
Addressing a meeting at the launch of the National Land Policy in Mutare yesterday, Dr Gwaradzimba said she was alarmed by the extent of resistance by white commercial farmers to lawful occupation of land by new farmers allocated part of the farms by Government.
She said most of the farmers were resorting to legal action in faraway places like the Bulawayo High Court where verdicts were pronounced in their favour, raising fears of corruption having permeated the Judiciary.
“There is resistance to the extent that on Monday there was an altercation where two black farmers were shot (at Roscommon Estate) and they had offer letters.
“One died on the spot and another was injured. Another person was also shot in Burma Valley recently,” said Dr Gwaradzimba.
“We need to look at it because our courts and Government policy are not in sync. With the courts, we do not know whether it is corruption that makes all black farmers lose their cases,” added Dr Gwaradzimba.
She cited another case in which Chief Zimunya was allocated land and had an offer letter, but the white commercial farmers has blocked him access.
“Chief Zimunya was given an offer letter in 2015 and he has been making attempts to settle at the farm, but he has failed. There is resistance.
“It is our wish that we live in harmony and that we co-exist, but we are facing a lot of resistance and we end up being misrepresented in the media as racists,” said Dr Gwaradzimba.
She insisted that no one was above the law and warned white commercial farmers against taking the law into their hands.
Roscommon Estate produces world-acclaimed red tea Wanganella.
It is also into macadamia, coffee and potato production.
On Wednesday, Ariston Holdings human resources head Mr Brian Kangondo told The Herald they evicted the settlers in terms of a court order granted in the company’s favour.
The company insists the disputed land belongs to it.