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Push for return of Zapu properties intensifies

by Staff reporter
16 Jan 2023 at 16:28hrs | Views
ZAPU and Zipra veterans are set to meet on January 28 to elect a substantive committee to spearhead engagement with government and other processes towards the return of their seized properties.

The meeting has been set for McDonald Hall in Makokoba, according to Zipra interim steering committee chairperson Volta Moyo.

The meeting is allegedly being coordinated by outspoken war veteran Tshinga Dube.

A meeting involving Zapu and Zipra excombatants was held in Entumbane suburb in Bulawayo in November where the steering committee was set up to co-ordinate processes leading to the election of a substantive committee.

"'The aim of the meeting is to choose a substantive Zipra properties committee," Moyo said.

"All those who trained under Zipra are invited to attend."

Zapu and Zipra ex-combatants last year agreed to work together to push for the return of their properties seized by the Zanu-PF government soon after independence.

Government seized the properties under the Unlawful Organisations Act (Caveat Number 15 of 82) in the 1980s alleging that it had discovered arms caches on farms owned by Zapu and Zipra, precipitating Gukurahundi massacres.

According to a Zapu inventory, seized party properties include farms and hotels, among them Magnet House, which now houses the Central Intelligence Organisation offices in Bulawayo, Castle Arms in Bulawayo, Green Haven — a huge entertainment facility along the Victoria Falls-Bulawayo Highway, and several residential properties.

The veterans had contributed $50 each from their demobilisation payouts after independence to purchase properties through their investment vehicle, Nitram Investments Private Limited.

The late president Robert Mugabe frustrated any engagements towards the return of the properties.

Mugabe spearheaded the seizure of Zapu properties at the start of the deadly military campaign in Matabeleland and Midlands known as Gukurahundi, which left over 20 000 supporters of the Joshua Nkomo led opposition party dead and thousands displaced.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has opened lines of engagement, but the process has been moving at a snail's pace with critics doubting his sincerity.

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