THE controversy surrounding the takeover of Maleme Farm in Matobo district of Matabeleland South shows that the government has little regard for what people from the region feel about certain issues impacting on their welfare.
The farm, which belongs to David Cunningham, has a lot of significance in Matabeleland in that it has provided a sanctuary for the less privileged and the Christian community.
According to reports, the government last year parcelled out the farm to a Central Intelligence Organisation officer Rodney Mashingaidze who does not come from Matabeleland South.
The allocation of the farm to Mashingaidze has angered traditional leaders and the community from neighbouring villages who cite their good relationship with Cunningham.
Villagers do not understand why a farm that has been so pivotal in their lives is being given to an outsider.
Cunningham’s predicament has not only galvanised Matabeleland South, but the entire region and people have been holding meetings, sending out petitions and knocking at the door of every government official involved in this matter.
On Sunday, villagers had been promised that Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko would address them and point the way forward.
However, Mphoko did not turn up at the tense meeting and indications are that villlagers are now readying themselves to take the law into their own hands because the government does not seem to be bothered by the brewing conflict.
Villagers say they will set up vigils at the farm and will not allow anyone to take over the land, especially an outsider.
The opposition MDC-T has called on villagers and the local leadership to stand up together, regardless of political affiliation against the invasion of the farm.
These developments came at a time when another dispute is brewing over the government’s plans to acquire a farm belonging to the Anglican Church’s Cyrene Mission.
It does not need a rocket scientist to decipher that this would not sit well with the community and already a storm is brewing.
The government needs to urgently address these issues before they mutate into unnecessary conflict.