A bitter land dispute at Double O Ranch in Gwanda district, has turned ugly with George Watson, the son of former owner J T Watson accused for unrepentant colonial behavior.
According to state media, The Herald, Watson set dogs on two boys from the Siyoka area that he found herding cattle in the disputed area.
In another incident, he ran over seven shacks at the farm belonging to his workers using his Toyota Land cruiser while they were asleep as punishment for reporting him to authorities because of labour exploitation.
Six people escaped with minor injuries as a result of the incident.
He also keeps two lions at the farm, which he is alleged to be feeding with villagers’ donkeys.
Former Zanu-PF Matabeleland South chairperson Llyod Siyoka said Watson and her son were holding on to the land illegally since they were told to vacate the area in 2003.
Siyoka said the Watsons temporarily left the farm for three years but returned in 2006 through the assistance of former Matabeleland South Governor Angeline Masuku.
“We’ve a problem with George Watson who has been ill-treating the community and has fenced the grazing land and the District Development Fund dam (Magwamazi Dam).
“In some cases he beats up members of the community when they come to his farm looking for their livestock. We’ve tried to seek assistance to evict him but we’ve failed due to the support he was getting from Angeline Masuku. That’s the same reason why Masuku lost support from the community during the last elections.
It is alleged that the farm, which covers 10,000 hectares, was divided into two sections with the former owner JT Watson, remaining with 2,000 hectares while 8,000 hectares were allocated to the Beitbridge community in Siyoka area.
The dispute has since roped in VP Reporter Mphoko, who has since urged the parties to resolve the matter amicably.