By NQOBANI NDLOVU
ZAPU and the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) veterans yesterday accused the government of “playing games” with its properties seized in the 1980s.
Zipra was the military wing of Zapu during the armed struggle.
Zapu and Zipra have been demanding the release of farms and buildings that were listed as caveats in the title deeds for years, but without success.
Government seized the properties under Unlawful Organisation Act under (Caveat number 15 of 82) alleging that it had discovered arms caches on them precipitating the Gukurahundi mass killings.
Last week, Defence and War Veterans minister Oppah Muchunguri told Parliament that the properties issue was a “legacy issue that is being looked at”, but without giving any timelines when “an amicable solution will be found”.
Sibangilizwe Nkomo, the son of the late Father Zimbabwe, Joshua, said they had had enough of government’s false promises, adding that authorities did not want to release the properties.
“They are just not serious at all. It is very clear that they just do not want, and have never wanted to release those properties. They have never been genuine on this subject. They have the power to ensure the quick return of the properties, but just because they do not want to, they keep dilly-dallying,” Nkomo, who is eyeing the Zapu presidency, said.
John Gazi, the chairperson of Nitram Properties, in an emailed response to Southern Eye, said: “It takes only 48 hours for the caveat to be lifted. We do not want any more speeches, but the return of the properties. We have met President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa on this subject, but there is still no movement despite assurances. This leaves us questioning their seriousness.”
Zipra veterans bought several properties across the country with contributions from their demobilisation payouts.
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi once said that government would not return the properties because PF Zapu joined Zanu to form Zanu PF under the Unity Accord of 1987.
But Zapu contends that it pulled out of the Unity Accord when it cut ties with Zanu PF in 2008.
Former Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko once promised to facilitate the return of the properties, but nothing materialised.
According to a Zapu inventory, the seized properties include farms and hotels, among them Castle Arms in Bulawayo, Green Haven — a huge entertainment facility along Victoria Falls Road — and several residential properties.
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