By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
TWO men who allegedly disarmed and assaulted guards at businessman-cum-politician Phillip Chiyangwa’s Old Citrus farm, killing one of them, appeared in court Tuesday facing murder.
Lazarus Zhou (41) of Nyanzou village, Chief Magonde in Chinhoyi and Martin Chapwanya (40) of village 3, Musoromuchena in Chinhoyi appeared before magistrate Lisah Mutendereki charged with murder.
They were remanded in custody to 24 November and was advised to apply for bail at the High Court.
The State case, led by Eugene Moyo is that on 2 November, at around 8am and at Old Citrus B farm, security guards Open Kadonzvo and the now deceased Charles Cherachera (65) and their colleagues were tasked to destroy makeshift homes erected by illegal settlers at the farm.
The accused persons, their accomplice Joromiah Mutoti, who has since been arrested and is admitted at Parirenyatwa Hospital, and many other illegal settlers who are still at large, confronted the guards.
Armed with logs, home-made knives, knobkerries, catapults and stones, they attacked the guards.
The accused persons, it was further alleged, disarmed Kadonzvo and the now deceased Cherachera of two guns, an Amadeo Ross 38 Special Revolver and a 12-bore Stevens Savage West Field shotgun.
They then abducted the guards and took them to a nearby mountain where they subjected them to severe beatings.
Cherachera was left for dead, while Kadonzvo was bundled into a car before he was driven to Harare where he was later rescued by police.
The now deceased Cherachera sustained serious injuries and was rushed to Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital where he was admitted into the intensive care unit (ICU) until his untimely death on 7 November.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com from a Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital ward prior to his death, Cherachera, whose injured finger had to be amputated, said his assailants took away a wallet containing US$22 and a cell phone.
Old Citrus farm has in recent weeks been turned into a war zone as illegal settlers periodically launch attacks on the property targeting security guards and Chiyangwa’s farm labourers.
The illegal settlers were evicted last month after they allocated themselves pieces of land on the farm measuring 3, 477, 46 hectares.
The property is at the centre of an endless court battle between Chiyangwa and Chinhoyi Municipality.
The families were kicked-off the farm by the Messenger of Court with help from police and suspected Zanu PF functionaries who unleashed violence.
They forced the occupants to escape to nearby mountains where some are still living.
The occupants’ makeshift homes were set on fire rendering them homeless.
The defiant settlers, who regularly unleash militia-style violence, have vowed to make life hell for Chiyangwa, his farm labourers and guards.
The settlers have turned the nearby Shooting Range hill their home.