ZIPRA has threatened to approach President Emmerson Mnangagwa in a fresh bid to force the Zanu PF government to release former Zapu properties seized before the signing of the 1987 Unity Accord between ex-President Robert Mugabe and the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo.
BY SILAS NKALA
In an interview with the Southern Eye yesterday, Zipra Veterans’ Association secretary-general Petros Sibanda said the ex-Zpra members were organising a meeting on Saturday to discuss how they would engage Mnangagwa in efforts to repossess their properties.
“We will have an all ex-Zipra cadres meeting at the Castle Arms Motel in Bulawayo on Saturday and one of the major agendas is the repossession of properties which we have been denied under Mugabe’s regime,” Sibanda said.
“We want to engage the new President whom we trust will be humane enough to realise we were deprived of our belongings. As a lawyer himself [Mnangagwa] we believe he is aware of the property rights law which entitles everyone to his or her property regardless of political affiliation.”
Zipra fighters at independence contributed Z$50 each towards the acquisition of properties for their sustenance.
The properties were registered under the Nitram Investment Holdings Company.
Zanu PF government confiscated properties which included buildings and farms, claiming they were being used as arms caches by Zipra dissidents.
Some of the properties include the Castle Arms Motel and Nest Egg building in Bulawayo, Ascot Farm in Solusi, Wood Glen Farm in Nyamandlovu and Hawton Farm in Gweru at which the late former Midlands governor Cephas Msipa reportedly resettled people from Sogwala.
After people were resettled at Hawton Farm, Zipra veterans were reportedly told they would be given a safari property, and to date nothing has transpired.
Other Zipra properties taken in Harare are the Nijo Farm and Salisbury Motel snake properties.
Sibanda said they would also push government to amend the War Veterans Act to encompass all the ex-Zpra cadres and contributors who were sidelined during Mugabe’s era into the war veterans’ structures.
He claimed that they had engaged Zanu PF war veterans on the alignment of laws and they had reached a consensus before Mugabe stepped down.
Sibanda said the former Zipra and Zanla cadres were all government stakeholders and should be treated equally.
“Government should learn to consult Zipra in some of the key issues to do with the running of the country. We know that they can say Zipra or Zapu is in Zanu PF government because of the few people who claim to be standing for Zapu in that party.
“The truth is that those people are not representing us, they represent themselves and their families. The President must simply involve Zipra 100% in policy making.”