"We Don't Want To Become ZIPRA4ED", Veterans Skeptical About Govt's Promise To Return Seized Properties
Some former ZIPRA war veterans have expressed skepticism over the latest government overtures to return their properties which were confiscated in the 1980s during the Gukurahundi killings.
This comes after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration reportedly appointed Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube to engage the war veterans.
The ZIPRA ex-combatants met on Saturday at MacDonald Hall in Mzilikazi, Bulawayo to elect an 11-member substantive committee that will lead engagements with the government for the return of their properties.
The committee comprises Volta Moyo (Matabeleland South), Sithabile ‘Ntombiyezizweni’ Sibanda (Midlands), Queen Maligwa (Bulawayo), Canaan Sibanda (Harare), Buster Magwizi (Mashonaland West), John Gazi (Midlands), Albert Ncube (Mashonaland West), Ian Matiwaza (Matabeleland South), Shelter Muchechesi (Mashonaland West), Willard Mafios Moyo (Bulawayo), and Leonard Machingura (Manicaland).
The committee will decide on a course of action and identify the ZPRA properties that need to be returned.
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However, some former ZIPRA cadres feel the move is just a ruse to use them ahead of general elections set for later this year, and then dump them.
ZPRA Veterans Association Spokesperson Buster Magwizi said they just want to know when the government will bring back their properties. He said:
Dube was the one collecting money from assembly points. He can talk about unity but these are ZPRA properties. It is business, not politics.
A former ZPRA female commander, Thoriso Moyo, said they don’t want to become a ZIPRA4ED grouping, in reference to a dozen ZANU PF-affiliated organisations that have sprouted over the past few months claiming to be championing Mnangagwa’s so-called “Vision 2030”. Moyo said:
We don’t want to be called ZPRA for ED. Today they are coming to us because they are campaigning. This is what we don’t want.
We know there are some individuals who can’t confront the system because they are riding a hyena and if they stop riding, they will be eaten.
We are tired, we won’t get these properties after 42 years. They must give me back my $50 with interest because we have seen how difficult it is to reclaim our properties plus we don’t want to be used.
Another former ZIPRA fighter, John Zolani Dlamini, who served as a Chief of Security under the first battalion and was deployed at Gwayi River Mine during the liberation struggle, said ZANU PF is planning to use them for its election campaigns. He said:
Why today? Mnangagwa came into power in 2017 and has not given our properties to date.
It makes everyone doubt this gathering and the call by Cde Dube that he has been sent by Mohadi so that Mnangagwa considers handing over our properties becomes very difficult to believe,” he said.
We are going for elections and we have seen how Zanu has been campaigning, so one would want to believe this is just a mere campaign.
If it was not, we would have been given our properties long back immediately after the Unity Accord in 1987.
We will do what they tell us to do but I don’t want to dampen other people’s morale. When is Mnangagwa going to work on this?
This is the end of January, then July/ August, we have elections. After elections it will be a different language.
Other ex-combatants said the government must formally commit to the initiative by putting it in writing and repealing the law that was used to seize the ZIPRA properties. | CITE