Chiefs, CSOs demand return of Zipra properties

Zipra Forces

A REPORT by chiefs on the Gukurahundi issue states that civic society and chiefs in Matabeleland North and South want Zipra properties that were taken by government soon after independence to be returned as one step towards resolving the thorny issue.

On Monday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was in Bulawayo to launch the Gukurahundi manual, where he pleaded with communities affected by the atrocities to co-operate with traditional leaders during consultations to resolve the emotive issue.

The Gukurahundi genocide of the 1980s witnessed the brutal killing of more than 20 000 unarmed civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces by security forces.

The report by chiefs states that during consultations, Zipra war veterans demanded their properties as one of the key elements to induce co-operation.

 In its opening remarks, the Zipra War Veterans Trust stated that: “We kneel before you our chiefs because when you make decisions it's for the benefit of all Zimbabweans. Thank you for uniting us, the Chiefs Council; you are the institution to resolve this problem.”

 Zipra said an apology should be made through the chiefs which would open doors for reconciliation.

“Zipra should access its benefits and the return of Zipra properties,  Zapu party records and memorabilia including Magnet House (that houses the Central Intelligence Organisation in Bulawayo),” the report read.

The report said the return of Zipra properties would guarantee posterity of its history.

“Further, the memorabilia is also central to preserving the history of its (Zapu party) exploits and legacy.”

Zipra, which was Zapu’s military wing during the liberation struggle, feels its history is not accessible to researchers, hence a distorted narrative is being peddled against it.

Zipra wants government to desist from making the Gukurahundi issue a mere talk show.

Zipra also indicated that the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) failed to execute its mandate during its first term of office.

“A message was conveyed to the President about the need for traditional leaders to carry out rituals to appease heroes who perished outside the country. Zipra bemoaned that it was still being called an unlawful terrorist organisation, hence it needed to be treated fairly like any other independent organisation,” the report read. 

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