THE Dumiso Dabengwa-led opposition Zapu, yesterday expressed scepticism over Zanu PF government’s commitment to returning former Zipra properties seized during the Gukurahundi era.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Zapu deputy spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa made the remarks yesterday in reaction to Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, who at the weekend told former Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) fighters in Bulawayo that the government was considering returning the properties to them.
“We are aware of the machinations at hand here, where, as their tradition, Mphoko is compiling a looting machine to grab the properties, which are set to be released as per Zapu and ZIPRA demands. We wonder on whose mandate Mphoko talks about returning the properties,” he said.
“If he speaks as (President Robert) Mugabe’s surrogate and appointee, representative of those who unlawfully seized them, then it is welcome that they have finally come to their senses.”
ZIPRA was Zapu’s military wing during the liberation struggle.
“It is, however, interesting to note that Zanu PF now seeks to perpetuate its trademark divide and rule tactics with Mphoko, who himself deserted the war from ZIPRA in 1976 holding clandestine meetings with pseudo ZIPRA veterans discussing about the properties,” Maphosa charged.
In the early to late 1980s, the government regime seized several properties belonging to Zapu, then led by the late nationalist and former Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, claiming they were being used by the latter to cache arms.
According to a ZIPRA inventory, the seized properties include the four-storey Magnet House, which houses the Central Intelligence Organisation in Bulawayo, Daves Hall, which is being used as Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial headquarters, Castle Arms in Bulawayo, Lundi Hotel, Green Haven — a huge entertainment facility along Victoria Falls Road, Snake Park in Harare— and several residential properties.
In his address, Mphoko called on ex-ZIPRA and Zapu members to compile a list of all seized properties, but Maphosa said he was sceptical of government’s pledge.