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Zimbabwe govt must promptly return Zipra properties

by Staff reporter
11 Aug 2022 at 06:45hrs | Views
CALLS by Zanu-PF Bulawayo provincial chairperson Jabulani Sibanda this week that government should return all properties that it grabbed from former Zipra combatants at the height of the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the 1980s cannot not be overemphasised.

Honestly, it is quite amiss that those properties were not included in the 1987 Unity Accord between Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo (both late), an agreement that supposedly was meant to cease hostilities between the two former 1970s liberation war allies Zanu and PF Zapu.

If the properties, which include the imposing Magnet House in Bulawayo, were actually part of the negotiations to stop civil strife in the southern part of the country, then is it curious that 35 years after the Unity Accord, those properties have not been returned to the rightful owners.

Sibanda rightly reminds us that: "When we were at the assembly points, we contributed money from our meagre salaries to buy those properties. Some of the properties have been returned, while others have not been returned due to paperwork challenges … please do not release those farms through newspapers, release them physically so that we have access to them."

For years, government has been promising to return the properties, but little has happened, leading to many rightly questioning the sincerity of the 1987 Unity Accord because a prompt release of those properties way back in 1987 would have, indeed, signified the sincerity of the unity agreement.

Past experience has thought us that it will not be long before Sibanda is pelted for discussing these issues in public as what happened to Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda when he pointed out that the appointment of a second Vice-President from the other party in the Unity Accord was long overdue. Colleagues in his Zanu-PF party were furious and roasted Mudenda for his otherwise noble and wise counsel.

As we speak, there is no second Vice-President after Kembo Mohadi resigned as VP last year following a messy sex scandal.

It is these seemingly small matters that speak to the genuineness of the 1987 Unity Accord. As long as these grey areas keep sticking out like sore thumbs, it would be difficult for any sane Zimbabwean to believe that the people of Zimbabwe were truly united by the 1987 unity agreement.

One really wonders why it has taken government all this while to return those properties when it is fully aware that they were illegally grabbed from Zipra?

If the Zanu-PF government is serious about bringing closure to the Gukurahundi madness, why is it still shilly-shallying over the Zipra properties?

It is about time the Zanu-PF government acted on those properties if it hopes to convince anyone that it genuinely entered the 1987 Unity Accord. Besides, the move would be a plus for a government that has so far dismally failed on the property rights front.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe