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Ex-ZIPRA combatants say seized properties distributed among Zanu PF cronies

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By Bulawayo Correspondent


FORMER Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) combatants have accused the Zanu PF led government of stripping off and parcelling out their seized properties to party politicians.

During the height of the Gukurahundi atrocities in the 1980s, the then Zanu led government seized properties owned by Nitram (Pvt) Ltd.

The firm is a holding company formed by the ex-freedom fighters from their demobilisation payments.

Government claimed the properties were being seized following the alleged discovery of arms caches in some of the party’s farms in the Midlands and Bulawayo provinces.

Magnet house, which currently houses the Bulawayo Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) provincial headquarters, is one of the properties which government has continued to cling on to despite several attempts by the ex-combatants to regain possession of the asset.

ZIPRA Veterans Association leader Buster Magwizi told journalists in Bulawayo government was not keen on releasing the assets.

“Right now, we think they are just dilly dallying, wasting a lot of time and in the meantime they are parcelling out, demerging Nitram properties and issuing them out to Zanu PF like Nijo farm and other properties given out to other people.

“After we had presented to the President our issue on February 14, then we see this anomaly when (Late Perrance) Shiri issues Nijo farm to Zanu PF.

“This is unheard of. It is unfair. It is like stealing from the dead. Bones will speak one day, so we want our properties back,” said Magwizi.

President Mnangagwa July last year met leaders of the ZIPRA Veterans Association at State House in Bulawayo where the properties issue was raised to him.

“At State House, we implored the President that we need these properties but the response that came from the President was kind of door shutting in terms of replies.

“He said you people have a board that is sitting. Why don’t you use that board to come and we discuss your properties,” said Magwizi.

He challenged the government to be honest and respect the former freedom fighters.

“But what is obvious is it is them who expropriated our properties. It is them who impounded our properties, so now we are going knees and elbows to beg for our properties. It is very shameful,” said Magwizi.

Last year, Nitram Properties chairperson John Gazi accused some unnamed influential government officials of scuttling their efforts to repossess the properties.

“Our biggest problem is that some political Cretans are jumping into the fray and spoiling the whole thing.

“This might cause unnecessary friction but will not derail our efforts to realise what we set out to do when we bought our properties,” Gazi told NewZimbabwe.com.

“The veterans contributed $50 each from their demobilisation pay-outs after independence and purchased 52 properties which include farms, hotels and buildings.”