By Leopold Munhende
A SECTION of the mainstream war veterans association in Zimbabwe has demanded the return of properties seized from the then PF Zapu by President Robert Mugabe’s regime at the height of the governing Zanu (then)’s hostilities with the once main opposition in the early 1980s.
The properties include farms dotted across the country, buildings in Bulawayo and factories.
War veterans said the properties should have been handed back to the owners as early as 1987 when Mugabe and then PF Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo ended hostilities through signing the famous unity accord.
Speaking to journalists in Harare this past week, Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association (ZLWVA)’s Ignatius Mutsinze said the seizure was used by Zanu PF to divide liberation war fighters.
“These properties were taken way back in the early 80s but we were anticipating that by 1987 when there was the unity agreement, these properties would be given back to their rightful owners.
“Those properties are still with our government, whether they have sold them or not, we do not know but we want an answer to that.
“As war veterans, we believe that issue was used as a divide and rule tactic by the ruling party.
“We want this to be addressed. Nitram Properties should be given back to its rightful owners.”
During the early 1980s, then Prime Minister Mugabe’s troops besieged Matabeleland and Midlands provinces ostensibly to hunt down some disgruntled soldiers sympathetic to Nkomo. The soldiers had deserted with guns.
However, the predominantly Ndebele region and Midlands suffered collateral damage when 20 000 civilians were killed for allegedly harbouring the army dissidents.
Mugabe targeted PF Zapu strongholds.
Added another war veteran, Ethan Mathibela, “Comrades continue to suffer yet they contributed large sums of money towards their investments.
“The association, as a bona fide and authentic representative of the victims of the Nitram scourge should ensure that properties are safely returned to their rightful owners.”