BY SILAS NKALA
Zipra Veterans Association leaders recently met President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House in Harare where they discussed issues of properties confiscated by government in the 1980s, Gukurahundi and non-vetted cadres.
This was revealed by the Zipra Veterans Association secretary general Petros Sibanda yesterday who said a delegation of seven Zipra veteran leaders met the President on July 22 in the capital.
“The main issue at the meeting was that Zipra cadres were direct victims of Gukurahundi since February 5, 1982. As victims, we were directly affected in that we were primary targets of Gukurahundi. Some of us fled the country, some were killed and some were made to disappear without trace,” Sibanda said.
“When the unity accord was signed it was not balanced and it only served to satisfy one side (Zanla and Zanu), Zipra and Zapu members were not taken aboard on many government institutions.”
Sibanda said they also advised the President that more than 20 000 Zipra cadres were still not vetted and had not received anything from government. He said most of the 35 000 registered war veterans were Zanla cadres despite the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s military men being over 70 000.
“We spoke about Zipra properties which were confiscated by government in the 1980s. The President promised us that he will make sure we get back all the properties. But this was verbal. These properties are under caveat; fortunately, we have a committee chaired by John Gazi dealing with this. We said what is needed to be done is for the properties to be removed from caveat so that we repossess them,” Sibanda said.
Sibanda said Mnangagwa indicated that government can, however, not compensate for livestock that was on the confiscated farms.
“We also spoke about Operation Restore Legacy which Zipra was involved in. I remember that (deputy Defence and War Veterans minister) Victor Matemadanda and others visited (the late Zapu leader) Dumiso Dabengwa to plan about the operation and Dabengwa gave us a go ahead,” Sibanda said.
“We worked together with them to push out (former President) Robert Mugabe and the date of the final push was planned by us at a meeting we held in Gweru.
However, after all that work it seems most of the Zipra cadres have not benefited as we have not been considered into government.”
Sibanda said Mnagagwa pointed out that Zipra cadres like Headman Moyo had held influential positions “but we told him that Moyo was not part of the people who worked with us during the Mugabe push out period”.
He said they will hold a meeting at the end of this month to give feedback to members