By Upenyu Chaota
Chief Bere, born Phineas Tafirei, has stirred the hornet’s nest after his subjects, early this week, tried to take over the farm belonging to former Higher and Tertiary Education minister and late national hero Stanislaus Gorerazvo Mudenge’s 500 hectares farm.
Mudenge’s farm is now being managed by his daughter Rumbidzai who is said to have sought help from Chief Charumbira and the Masvingo provincial Joint Operations Command (JOC) to force Chief Bere’s people out of the farm and allow negotiations to take place.
Chief Bere was installed in April this year after a fierce battle with the Charumbira clan over boundary demarcations.
It is said that a group of 16 people who claimed to have been armed with a blessing from President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is related to Chief Bere, stormed the property saying they wanted their chief to take over the farm.
Rumbidzai told TellZim News that she did not want the matter to go public before saying that the matter was minor and had been resolved.
“You want to do a story about it? I prefer to keep the matter private so I am not going to comment,” said Rumbidzai.
When pressed further, she said she had a minor dispute with her neighbour over water and the issue had been resolved.
“It was just a water dispute with my neighbour but it has been resolved. You can come to my farm and see for yourself,” said Rumbidzai.
It is said that JOC and Chief Charumbira managed to intervene and Chief Bere’s people were told to leave the farm until the negotiations were completed.
When Chief Bere was installed, his territory took a huge chunk from Chief Charumbira’s territory and it has been a turf war ever since.
Prior to his installation, Chief Bere had been staying in Zaka.
His spokesperon David Jani Masomere said Chief Bere had a right to choose where he wanted to stay in his chieftaincy.
“Chief Bere currently rents a single room in Victoria Ranch and this Mudenge farm you are talking about is in our area and the chief chose to stay there.
“We do not want to chase away the current occupant but we are saying let us share the land because it is too big for one person. The chief will take half and the Mudenges will take the other half.
“We have been knocking on doors for this arrangement to be approved but we realised that we were not being taken seriously that is why we decided to go to the farm and camp there.
“We are law-abiding people and we obeyed when we were told by JOC to hold our guns and give room for negotiations. We are going to negotiate but we want a part of that farm,” said Masomere.