ZAPU’S key decision-making bodies yesterday resolved to vigorously pursue its decades-long drive to reclaim the party’s properties confiscated by the Zanu PF-led government during the 1980s.
Zapu’s national people’s council and the national executive council met at the weekend in Bulawayo and drew up resolutions that would guide the party towards the 2018 national elections.
The government seized 25 farms and 31 companies belonging to Zapu in 1982 after accusing its leader the late Joshua Nkomo, of planning to topple the then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe’s government following an alleged discovery of arms caches on some of the party’s properties.
The seizure heightened tensions between the two major political parties culminating in the unleashing of the North Korean-trained elite 5 Brigade which was accused of massacring an estimated 20 000 civilians in Zapu’s strongholds of Matabeleland and the Midlands.
Zapu national spokesperson Mjobisa Noko told Southern Eye yesterday that funds were being mobilised to finance the party’s bid.
He said several avenues to reclaim the properties were also being explored.
“We resolved to push further to reclaim our properties.
“Zapu has properties scattered all over the country. We are in the process of looking for funding so that we are able to challenge anyone for the purposes of reclaiming the properties,” he said.
“We have several routes to choose from. These properties were taken with certain conditions and if it means taking the legal option, we will follow it and if it means discussions at certain levels, we will also take that route.
“However, what I assure you is that the route that we are going to take will be the most effective route,” Noko added.
Last year, Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa told Southern Eye that the said properties now belonged to Zanu PF.
At independence in 1980, Zipra ex-combatants contributed $50 each towards the purchase of properties which were registered under Nitram Investment Holdings.
Some of the properties include the Castle Arms Motel in Bulawayo, Nest Egg building in Bulawayo, Ascot Farm in Solusi, Wood Glen Farm in Nyamandlovu and Hawton Farm in Gweru in which former governor Cephas Msipa reportedly resettled people from Sogwala.
In 2003, the government said it had returned Castle Arms Motel in Bulawayo, Woolglen Farm in Umguza, Nest Egg and Hampton Farms in Gweru in the spirit of promoting unity after the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987.
However, some former Zipra cadrés who contributed their demobilisation payments towards the purchase of some of the properties questioned the motive behind the government’s actions 16 years after the Unity Accord was signed.
Noko said it was also resolved to restructure the party ahead of next year’s congress.
“We undertook resolutions to guide Zapu in the next five years.
Zapu has embarked on rebuilding and restructuring its structures from the branch to the provinces and this has to be done by August this year,” he said.
“This is in preparation for the congress in August next year.
“An election directorate has been put in place so that in the event of a by-election the party can field candidates.”