Farm manager shoots artisanal miner dead; incident spotlights rampant land use conflicts

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

A manager at a Banket farm allegedly shot dead an artisanal miner, who was part of a three-man gang that had invaded the property to prospect for gold.

The shooting brings to the fore endemic conflicts surrounding land use in communal areas, resettlements and commercial farms.

Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) national spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident.

“On October 14, 2022, ZRP Banket arrested a farm manager, Edmore Churu (34) in connection with a case of murder in which he shot dead an artisanal miner,  Brian Mahwani at around 0000 hours at Strathmore farm,” said Nyathi.

“The victim was part of three other artisanal miners who were caught conducting illegal mining activities at the farm. Investigations are in progress.”

The Zimbabwe Lands Commission (ZLC) Commissioner Tendai Ruth Bare is on record saying it is handling over 1,000 disputes involving farm allocations and boundary rows, as well as cases where mineral deposits are found on farmland.

Disputes, she said, were widespread where miners invade farms to prospect for precious minerals, especially gold.