ZAPU secretary-general Strike Mkandla yesterday dismissed Zanu PF secretary for administration and Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa’s pronouncements that Zapu properties confiscated after independence now belonged to Zanu PF by virtue of the 1987 Unity accord.
Zapu led by the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo was merged into Zanu PF under the Unity Accord and Mutasa said as a result, anything that belonged to the veteran nationalist’s party was now property of the ruling party.
The war of words was ignited by President Robert Mugabe’s December 22 plea for Zapu members to rejoin Zanu PF.
Mutasa on Monday said it was not possible for Zapu properties to be returned because there were still former members such as current Zanu PF national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo still upholding the Unity Accord.
However, Mkandla said only a few former Zapu individuals remained in Zanu PF after the party pulled out of Zanu PF in 2008.
Mkandla said Mutasa was entitled to his opinions although it was misplaced for him to say Zapu remained swallowed by Zanu PF.
“(Zapu leader Dumiso) Dabengwa and many others who went with Nkomo to unite with Zanu PF did not go there as individuals, but as a party,” Mkandla said.
“But there were a lot of members who did not join Zanu PF who contributed to the purchase of those properties and are not benefiting from them.
“When Zapu pulled out of the Unity Accord, the likes of Moyo and others were supposed to come back, but opted to remain in Zanu PF and we cannot regard them as Zapu, but individuals who are former Zapu members,” he said.
Mkandla said Zapu is a corporate body and not an individual entity and hence individuals cannot claim to be a party.
He said the fact that Moyo and others chose to remain in Zanu PF does not mean that they were never Zapu members.
“Yes, they were Zapu members but now they call themselves Zanu PF and Zapu is not Zanu PF. During the Unity Accord, Zapu was swallowed by Zanu PF and even Nkomo was not happy about the terms and conditions of the pact. There was use of State power to make people sign the accord under duress and only conditions set by Zanu PF applied,” Mkandla said.
Mkandla said most of the properties which belonged to Zapu and Zipra members are listed under Nitram Investment Holdings and members could only benefit if they were returned to the company as currently only Zanu PF-aligned members are suspected to be benefiting from them.
He said it was not only ex-Zipra combatants who contributed to the purchase of the properties, but some individuals that are not even active in politics.
Mkandla said it was baseless for Mutasa to claim that Mugabe was inviting ex-combatants and not Zapu members to re-unite with Zanu PF because the ex-fighters he is referring to were under a political party.
He said most of the ex-combatants who are not in Zanu PF belonged to the Zapu military wing Zipra.