PRESIDENTIAL Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa yesterday declared that the Zapu properties confiscated after independence now belonged to Zanu PF, setting the stage for a bruising fight with the party founded by late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo.
Zapu, which broke away from Zanu PF in 2008 led by former politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa, on Sunday had declared that any conditions to reunite the two parties should include the return of properties seized by President Robert Mugabe’s government soon after independence.
This followed a December 22 plea by Mugabe for those who abandoned the Unity Accord to rejoin Zanu PF.
The 89-year-old spoke when he unveiled Nkomo’s statue in Bulawayo where he revealed, that the divisions make him “cry”.
Zapu then listed the refusal to return its properties confiscated after independence as one of the reasons its members pulled out of the Unity Accord.
The seized properties include buildings in Bulawayo, farms and motels.
However, Mutasa said the matter of Zapu properties left in Zambia at independence was discussed during the Unity Accord talks and Dabengwa was tasked with repatriating them to Zimbabwe.
“As for those properties in the country, when they talk about them being returned to Zapu, they must think twice because we have our national chairman (Simon Khaya Moyo) and others who are in Zanu PF under the Unity Accord,” he said.
“To whom and to where do they want those properties returned?
“Our national chairman was Zapu and through the Unity Accord those properties are for the united Zanu PF.”
Some of the properties were bought after former Zipra fighters contributed money from their demobilisation payouts.
Nkomo’s vision was that the former fighters and their families would benefit from the investments when they were no longer able to work for themselves.
Scores have died paupers after the investments were seized during the Gukurahundi genocide in Matabeleland and the Midlands. Zapu dismissed Mugabe’s pleas as insincere, but Mutasa yesterday claimed the appeal was not directed at Dabengwa and his party.
He said Mugabe was speaking to ex-combatants because as far as they are concerned, Zanu PF and Zapu are still in the Unity Accord. He said the president would not call back people who were already in the party. The Unity Accord was signed in 1987 and Zapu insists it was not a fair agreement because it was hammered when Nkomo was under pressure to end the killing of his supporters.
“The president is very sincere in his remarks,” Mutasa said.
“He would not talk about Zapu members returning to the party because as you know we have people like our national chairman and others who came from Zapu.
“We still have them so he would not call for Zapu members when Zapu and Zanu PF are still together upholding the Unity Accord.”