Ex-ZPRA veterans have reacted angrily at Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube’s insinuations that lack of unity was hindering the return of their properties seized by the government and instead pointed a finger at the Zanu PF government for sowing seeds of division among them.
The former freedom fighters are demanding that the Emmerson-Mnangagwa-led government release their properties without any conditions whatsoever.
Dube touched off a storm on Thursday during the burial of former ZPRA intelligence officer and Mafela Trust director, Zephaniah Nkomo at the Nkulumane Provincial Heroes Acre in Bulawayo when he said divisions within the ex-ZPRA camp was the reason why their properties were not returned.
The former war veterans minister said President Mnangagwa agreed to return the properties but was hesitant to do so due to the alleged divisions among the former ZPRA cadres.
Mnangagwa is said to have directed the former ZPRA cadres to engage Vice President Kembo Mohadi on the matter.
Some of the properties include Magnet House which houses the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) offices in Bulawayo, Kudu Motors, Hampton Farm, Ascot Farm, Nest-egg farm, Woodyglen Farm, Mbalabala Garage, Nyamandlovu Farm, Snake Park and Salisbury Motel in Harare among others.
ZPRA Veterans Association Spokesperson Buster Magwizi dismissed Dube’s remarks arguing that there was a lot interference from the government.
Magwizi they had done a lot to engage the government to have the properties returned.
“Because they see us doing this and that, they think we are divided, but we are trying to make inroads. We have met with the president directly, we told him we want our properties when we were under the Matabeleland Collective banner. We have addressed several letters to the government and even raised our plight to the press. Now it is up to the government to honour our demands by returning our properties,” said the spokesperson.
“But the government’s intention is to further divide ZPRA and those who gullible, pliable and have rubbernecks that turn wherever the wind blows will question our efforts. It is now up to the person of the government to honour what is ours.”
Magwizi said the ex-ZPRA cadres had no problem approaching VP Mohadi but questioned his ability to assist in the matter.
“Mohadi is the VP and a former ZPRA but he has shown no mantle and muscle. We met him on July 22, 2019 with the president but he made no formidable plans. Dube must not question our leadership because there is no credible ZPRA in government who can represent us in the government,” he noted.
“This government is just like the hyena that eats your calves, then next day comes and says sorry for the death of the calves. Yes, we agree dialogue is important but this incoherence is caused by infiltration from Zanu.”
ZAPU National Spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa had no kind words for Dube, saying his sentiments made a “very sad reading especially coming from a senior ZPRA veteran that he is.”
Maphosa said for Dube to insinuate that “some veterans are now sharing the meat before the beast is killed,” laid bare how Zanu PF officials ignored the truth deliberately.
“The beast, which I suppose figuratively represent the properties, was killed when the ex combatants contributed their hard earned monies to purchase them. No beast is ever killed twice and Dube must stop with his bootlicking of the Zanu PF government, in result justifying the forced taking over of the properties in the first instance,” he said.
Maphosa added that President Mnangagwa must release those properties himself, not through Mohadi, who at the time of their confiscation “was a clerk at Beitbridge Rural Council and nowhere near ZAPU leadership.”
“Mnangagwa must release the properties by reversal action in the pieces of legislation they used first to forcibly take them through the Unlawful Organisation Act, Caveat 15 of 1982 and their transfer to the president through Caveat No. 56 of 1987 in January. It is as simple as that,” Maphosa said.
“If indeed Mnangagwa has promised and willing to release the properties back to the rightful owners. A proxy of Mohadi’s nature is an insult to the veterans of the struggle who wallow in abject poverty as a result of Zanu greed.”
Maphosa said it was also is insensitive for Dube to prescribe unity as a pre condition for the return of the properties.
“To us it sounds exactly like when the devil expects Christians to unite so as to enjoy heaven. How convenient for the purveyors of disunity to preach unity to their victims. It becomes more insulting especially with the knowledge that Zanu PF defines unity as conformity to its nonsense. Just tell Mnangagwa to return what’s rightfully ZPRA’s without all three conditions,” he said.