BULAWAYO — Ex-Zipra members have resolved to continue piling pressure on the government to return immovable properties that were seized at the height of the armed dissident crackdown in the 1980s.
The ex-fighters also claim they lost over 4 000 cattle during the period.
Zipra Veterans’ Trust chairperson Buster Willy Magwizi yesterday said members of the trust would meet in Bulawayo on Saturday to craft new strategies on how to reclaim their properties.
Magwizi said since Zanu PF had now regained full control of government, the party could no longer blame anyone for any further delays.
“At independence in 1980, all the Zipra ex-combatants contributed Z$50 each towards the purchase of properties which were registered under Nitram Investment Holdings,” Magwizi said.
“Some of those properties include Castle Arms Motel in Bulawayo, Nest Egg building in Bulawayo, Ascot Farm in Solusi, Wood Glen Farm in Nyamandlovu and Hawton Farm in Gweru at which
former (Midlands) governor Cephas Msipa reportedly resettled people from Sogwala,” Magwizi said.
He said ex-Zipra veterans would hold an annual general meeting at Castle Arms Motel in Bulawayo on Saturday to discuss strategies on how to pressurise the Zanu PF government to return their properties.
“We are inviting all ex-Zipra members from across the country and abroad to attend.
“After Zanu PF resoundingly won the election, we have a chance to push it to return our properties with their title deeds.
“We purchased these properties for the purposes of helping all ex-Zipra veterans and their families, but all those efforts
were thwarted when the properties were taken.”
Magwizi said Zipra also lost some properties in Harare which included Nijo Farm, Salisbury Motel and several others.
“When our farms were taken, we lost 4 000 cattle which were there and if we had had these cattle for the past 30 years, they would have been close to 200 000 now and our members would not be suffering as they are now.
“Most of these cattle were taken from Ascot Farm. They also took our tractors, chickens and pigs,” Magwizi said.
“The livelihoods of the ex-combatants would have improved if the properties had remained in their hands. But it’s sad that some undeserving people are benefiting from those properties,” he said.
Last year ex-Zipra combatants appealed to President Robert Mugabe and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to facilitate the return of their properties, but to no avail.
Magwizi said they suspected some of the properties had already been sold privately.
“We are again appealing to Mugabe to intervene and guarantee the return of our properties. These properties can benefit even our great-grandchildren if returned. We have a complete list of these properties and even the people who took them,” he said.