Mashonaland Central province traditional leader, Chief Negomo (Luscious Chitsinde), is demanding US$1,1 million from a commercial farmer at Tavydale Farm, Mr Pip Mattison, as compensation for 50 A1 farmers whose maize crop he destroyed in a land dispute.
In determining the figure at a traditional court on Saturday, Chief Negomo calculated the costs of inputs that the 50 farmers incurred and multiplied it by 300 hectares.
Some of the costs considered were seed maize , fertilizer, tillage and herbicides, among others.
The matter was heard as a default case as Mr Matison failed to turn up at Chief Negomo's court. Mr Mattison was also ordered to pay two herds of cattle, three goats, two sheep, a cock and a 10-metre piece cloth to cleanse the area which he said was now defiled.
Chief Negomo gave Mr Mattison up to February 23 this year to pay up and asked the farmers to come on that day to collect their compensation money.
Mr Mattison's lawyers, Mr Tich Muhonde of Muhonde Attorneys, had earlier written to Chief Negomo that his client would not come arguing that the traditional leader had no jurisdiction to hear the case. Most of the 50 farmers attended the traditional court session where they gave evidence.
The farmers complained that most of their belongings were still locked up at the farm as they had been barred from the farm. In their evidence, the farmers said they were convinced that Mr Mattison was riding on the support of some influential politicians and some Government officials in the province.
"Our cattle, chickens, clothes and other belongings are still locked up at the farm. We are staying with well-wishers who are giving us clothes to wear," said Ms Cecilia Chivhunga.
"Where is the white farmer deriving this power to destroy our crops? Dzvinyu kuzambira zuva huona mwena," said Mr Andrew Negomo.
Another farmer, Mr Vengesai Majaji, said they were issued with offer letters by District Administrator, Mrs Shelter Nyakudya, and last year and Mr Mattison would actually lend them his tractor to plough.
"Some of the farmers were arrested by police and charged with trespassing. How can we trespass on an area we have offer letters and where we have been farming for one year," he said.