Zapu Bulawayo provincial chairman Ray Ncube has urged party youths to defend business operators of foreign descent who are “hounded out of their businesses and buildings” by suspected Zanu PF supporters.
Addressing over 200 party youths at the Township Square Cultural Centre in Bulawayo on Sunday, Ncube said:
“There are some parties that are chasing some races out of Bulawayo. We know that in Zapu, we have always worked well with people from other races. Buildings and companies are being taken over by some parties’ youths.
“Zapu should never and will never agree that businesses leave Bulawayo to South Africa and other areas. We should, by all means, protect other races. We should not let these parties chase businesses under the guise of nationalisation.”
Ncube said Zapu was grateful to the Indian community for the moral and material support they gave to the liberation struggle.
“Indians gave us a lot of support and funds during the war. They have been here for a long time. It is therefore painful when someone thinks they are no longer part of us and they are told to leave.
“Our message is clear, to the Indians and the whites, that we should be able to stay together and no one should take other people’s businesses. As young people, you should safeguard what makes us survive in this city.”
The youths were reportedly targeting buildings owned by businesspeople of Indian origin and white Zimbabweans, saying it was part of government’s empowerment programme.
Buildings owned by Indians that have been invaded by Zanu PF youths in Bulawayo include Zambesia and Canberra flats.
The former ruling party youths have also grabbed Capri Building which houses the “Pizzaghetti” owned by the Di Palma family, who are of Italian origin.
Recently, the youths blocked Khalil Gaibie from evicting tenants occupying his Elons Court apartment complex over late payment of rentals.
The youths later claimed to have taken over the building.
But, Zanu PF provincial chairperson Isaac Dakamela said the property grab had not been sanctioned by his party.