Fight over Zipra property hots up

THE fight by former Zipra combatants to reclaim their properties which were seized by government at the height of the Gukurahundi era in the early 1980s has taken a new twist with members of the former Zipra High Command pushing for a meeting with President Robert Mugabe to resolve the matter.


Buster Magwizi, a member of former Zipra High Command which was PF-Zapu’s highest-decision-making body during the armed struggle, told NewsDay yesterday that they had made arrangements to meet Mugabe as soon as he comes back from his annual leave.

This comes as top Zanu PF members insist that the Zapu property issue died a natural death upon the signing of the 1987 Unity Accord between PF Zapu and Zanu PF.

“The fact that he (Mugabe) has come out in the open and invited former Zapu members to rejoin Zanu PF shows that he understands our concerns and the intricacies of the matter. We believe this is the best opportunity to engage him on the property issue so that it is returned to the rightful owners,” said Magwizi, who until last year, was chairperson of the Zipra War Veterans Trust.

“Those properties, which included farms, buildings and other movable goods, belong to former Zipra cadres. We contributed financially to acquire them as part of Zapu’s indigenisation programme as early as 1980.

“We want them back because they were acquired as a foundation for mitigating against poverty among ex-Zipra fighters and there was no ulterior motive behind the project. So as former Zipra High Command, we will soon meet the President over the issue because we believe we have the relevant repository of data concerning the properties.”

But former Zipra High Command member and Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa yesterday distanced himself from the planned meeting and accused Magwizi and his ex-PF-Zapu colleagues of “jumping the gun”, saying any negotiations that left out board members of Nitram (Pvt) Ltd was illegal.

Before their confiscation, all Zapu properties were under the management of Nitram (Pvt) Ltd being chaired by Dabengwa.

“I believe any negotiations to do with the seized Zapu properties should be spearheaded by the Nitram Investments board where I am chairperson,” Dabengwa said.

Contacted for comment, both Presidential spokesperson George Charamba and Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo professed ignorance over the matter. “I don’t know of any arrangements by these people to meet the President and in any case, I don’t think it’s practical to have the properties returned to former Zapu/Zipra members as those entities ceased to exist following the signing of the 1987 Unity Accord,” Gumbo said.

The properties were confiscated and forfeited to the State after government accused ex-Zapu members of using them as arms caches. They had been bought from contributions by ex-Zipra cadrés largely from their demobilisation payments.

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  1. Dabengwa should also swallow his pride and regroup with the former Zipra cadres and fight for their properties. It is rumoured that Dabengwa is the custodian of the title deeds of some properties therefore he should not hide these and take them personally.
    Why should he boast by saying these people have to go via Nitram and noy persuing a common cause.
    Ex Zipra guys watch out on Dabengwa otherwise some of the properties have been turned to be his cattle ranches and you can not reposses them.On then party Rugare Gumbo and his counterpart in spokesmanship,do not take advantage of the short ones and dwarf them to gain the precious ones.

    Musadya zvavapfupi nokureba.

  2. Hot potato,,

  3. Yes, indeed the same Dabengwa failed to move an inch towards retrieving what is rightfully Zipra properties since 1987.What has this same Nitram Boardshit been doing since 22 Dec, 1987 to retrieve these properties. Dabengwa remains totally irrelevant and inept in terms of managing the peaceful resolution of this matter.He was Minister of Home Affairs a while back and never bothered to approach His Excellency on this same matter.Now, an idea to meet His Excellency and plead with him to intervene has come—Dabengwa is the first fool to want it frozen because he suddenly sees himself excluded from this looming limelight and a possibility to re-model his waning fortunes. If his failed leadership to resurrect ZAPU is be taken seriously, then Dabengwa is the very last person people should include in any attempt to retrieve and rescuscitate what is genuinely former Zipra’s visionary poverty alleviation strategy. He failed former Zipra cadres for a long time and must close his brains on this matter

  4. Dabengwa is only indicating that any negotiation will need the board to be legal. What the former ZIPRA high command could do is to meet the Nitram Board and advise it to seek audience with the President and if the former members of the high command are able to facilitate the meeting they can then do so. Otherwise it is just a meeting. The problem is that people use their former titles to gain attention even where it is not deserved.

  5. Hahahahaha. Muchenjere kufarisa muchisikiza mai ne mb—.

  6. “…Zipra High Command which was PF-Zapu’s highest-decision-making body during the armed struggle” – this is bigging up Zipra and Zapu when they did nothing. It is better to just say Zapu, another political party. When you use phrases like “High Command” and “armed struggle” you portray Zipra as some ginormous or supernatural force which swept other forces aside when this was not the case. Let’s be clear about one thing – black majority rule was negotiated in 1978 to 1979 and that the fighting by Zanu and Zapu did not yield any results. The fighting by Zanu and Zapu has no connection whatsoever with ushering majority rule. Some of these bombastic phrases sent a wrong message to impressionable young generation.

    1. Do you remember who downed Rhodesian Airlines planes in 1978 and 1979? Do you remember who blew up the fuel storage depot in Harare in 1978? Do you know that in the battle of Hwange, the Rhodesians sustained some of their heaviest casualties? It was ZIPRA that executed all of this.

  7. @gax gumede – don’t exaggerate – the tanks in Salisbury were claimed by Zanu not Zapu. In any case negotiations for black majority were already under way in 1978 to 1979 by other internal parties and Zanu and Zapu were not involved. Even Muzorewa’s people placed some bombs around Salisbury around 1976 and about 10 or so men were executed but in the end it was negotiations which ushered black majority rule not the fighting by Zanu or Zapu. Zapu and Zanu were leant on by Presidents of the Front-Line States to attend an all-party conference when already there was a black prime minister. Zanu and Zapu were hoping for a military victory which they were unable to achieve. In the absence of an outright military victory Zapu and Zanu cannot claim to have done anything. Let me give you an example – in Sri Lanka the Tamil Tigers fought the Sinhalese government since 1976 but were defeated. Unita in Angola were fighting the MPLA government until 2002 but never got anywhere. The Farc guerrillas are still fighting the Colombian army since 1964. Without our votes Zanu would not have got into power in 1980. Fighting as a guerrilla alone does not mean they liberated anyone or any country.

  8. Archie Chimutanda

    Dabengwa is always demonized but he must be careful to embrace and lead his brothers as well. To join hands at this juncture is in his best interests with what he has gone thru. If he said that indeed then he was ill-advised.

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