Hundreds of villagers in Masvingo North yesterday protested over observation of two traditional sacred resting days, following a boundary dispute by two traditional leaders, who observe the custom on different days.
Known as chisi, one day during the week is set aside by traditional leaders as a sacred day, when villagers are not allowed to work on their fields.
The protests, according to sources, started at Ward Centre in Ward 32 after one Abmerek Murwisi was allegedly fined two beasts for not observing the day.
The area is contested by Chief Kabiwa Chikwanda and headman Boniface Musara, as they all claim it falls under their jurisdiction.
The dispute has since spilled in to the courts. Chief Chikwanda observes the day on a Wednesday, while headman Musara observes it on a Thursday.
Villagers are seeking government intervention to resolve the boundary dispute and have sought audience with Masvingo district administrator James Mazvidza next Monday over the issue.
They claim they are forced not to tend their fields for three days, including Sundays, and they feel this could threaten food security.
Ward 32 councillor Stephen Munyenyiwa said the villagers were caught in the middle of a turf war between the two traditional leaders and were suffering because of the dispute.
“When elephants fight, the grass suffers,” he said.
“We are the grass because villagers are not able to tend to their fields on both days for fear of being fined by either chief.
“Our area is a resettlement area and previously we did not have a chief, but now we are suffering.”
Munyenyiwa said they were set to meet the DA on Monday so he could address them and come up with a way forward.
“We called the DA several times and he said he had no fuel, so next Monday we are going to Masvingo so that he comes to address us on the issue,” he said.
Mazvidza, Chief Musara and Chikwanda could not be reached for comment yesterday.