ZPRA turns heat on govt over seized properties

ZPRA members are regrouping to pile pressure on the Zanu PF government to return properties it confiscated in the 1980s amid new revelations the ex-fighters also lost over 4 000 head of cattle during the exercise.

SILAS NKALA
STAFF REPORTER

ZPRA Veterans Trust chairman Buster Willy Magwizi yesterday said they will not rest until all their properties are returned.

Magwizi said since Zanu PF had now regained full control of the government, the party could no longer blame anyone for any delays in returning properties.

“At independence in 1980, all the ZPRA ex-combatants contributed Z$50 each towards the purchase of properties which were registered under Nitram Investment Holdings,” Magwizi said.

“Some of those 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 former governor Cephas Msipa reportedly resettled people from Sogwala,” Magwizi said.

He said after people were resettled at Hawton Garm, ZPRA veterans were told they would be given a safari property and to date nothing had transpired.

Magwizi said there were also other properties taken in Harare such as the Nijo Farm, Salisbury Motel snake properties and many others.

“When our farms were taken, we lost 4 000 head of cattle which were there and if we had had these cattle for the past 30 years, they would have been close to 200 000 head of cattle now and our members would not be suffering as they are now. “Most of these cattle were taken from the Ascot Farm. They also took our tractors, chickens and pigs,” Magwizi said.

He said ZPRA veterans will hold an annual general meeting at the Castle Arms Motel in Bulawayo on Saturday to discuss strategies on how to push the Zanu PF government to return the Nitram properties.

“We are inviting all ZIPRA members from across the country and abroad to attend. “After Zanu PF resoundingly won the election, we have a chance to push it to return our properties with title deeds. “We purchased these properties for the purposes of helping all ZPRA veterans and their families but all those efforts were thwarted when the properties were taken,” he said.

“The livelihoods of the ex-combatants would have improved if the properties had remained in their hands. But it’s sad that some un-deserving people are benefiting from those properties. Last year ZPRA combatants appealed to President Robert Mugabe and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to facilitate the return of their properties, but to no avail. Magwizi said they suspected some of the properties had already been sold privately. Magwizi also revealed that they wrote to Mugabe asking him to intervene, reminding him of promises made by the late Vice-President Joseph Msika at some point that the properties would be returned.

“We are again appealing to Mugabe to intervene and guarantee the return of our properties.” he said.

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