Zapu turns up the heat on government

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Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa yesterday said his party had intensified efforts to recover properties seized by the government in the 1980s and its legal department was working on an inventory.

The government seized the properties belonging to veterans of the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) after disturbances erupted in Matabeleland and Midlands.

Zipra was Zapu’s military wing during the independence war and was led by the late Vice- President Joshua Nkomo.

Dabengwa spoke after unconfirmed reports indicated security chiefs had met last year to discuss demands for the properties to be returned and resolved to consider giving up some of them.
The formed Zipra intelligence supremo said they had not been briefed about the meeting.

“As far as we are concerned, our legal department has been trying to compile the list of the properties right around the country,” he said.

“As soon as that list is complete, we will approach the government and hear what they have to say. We will then take it up from there.

“As far as I am concerned, there has been no informal approach to the government.”

The properties included farms around Harare, a motel and buildings in Bulawayo.

One of the buildings, Magnet House, is occupied by the Central Intelligence Organisation.

Sources said former Zipra commander Ambrose Mutinhiri had been asked to communicate government’s willingness to return the properties to former Zipra combatants

But Mutinhiri yesterday said he was not aware of the developments.

“At the moment I have no such information,” he said.

However, sources maintained there was movement on the issue

“For the Harare properties, they are saying, they don’t want to return them because they are located in such a way that they surround the capital city,” said the source.

“They are alleging that Zipra bought the properties in preparation to stage a coup and they are afraid that returning the properties will arm the former liberation movement.

“It is nonsensical, of course,” the source said.
Zapu intensified the call for the return of the properties after it broke away from Zanu PF in 2009.