We cant afford basic medical care, Ex-ZPRA cadres lament
Former Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZPRA) veterans say they continue losing their colleagues who cannot afford basic health care yet they could benefit from proceeds of their properties seized by the government in the 1980s.
ZPRA was a military wing of ZAPU during Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.
The ex-ZPRA freedom fighters lost their properties when the government seized them under the Unlawful Organisation Act in 1982 (Caveat No. 15 of 82) and transferred them to the President of Zimbabwe in January 1987 (under Caveat No. 56 of 87).
This was after the veterans had contributed $50 each from their demobilisation payout after independence to purchase 52 properties through their investment vehicle, Nitram Investments Private Limited.
Since then ZPRA has been lobbying the government to release their properties whose worth is said to be running into billions of dollars.
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.
Speaking during a press conference held in Bulawayo on Friday, liberation war veteran Andrew Ndlovu said they want their properties back.
“I would like to remind the state that if we had our properties, maybe we were not going to lose many lives of our comrades because during the war, the Rhodesian forces were also using chemical weapons and our comrades cannot get good treatment because, in these government welfare papers, they talk of basic health care, it means basic, if you go beyond basic you die,” said Ndlovu.
“We have lost many of our comrades because of that, so thus why we are insisting because it will be an advantage to our comrades that in the event the other comrade is seriously ill beyond healthcare, that person could be taken to India or any other developed countries for better treatment but here we are.”
Ndlovu said their gripe with the government was not only about their properties but it but also the right to life.
“In Zimbabwe, we have hospitals, clinics, they have no medicine, there is nothing. It’s not only about getting the properties, what is important is the right to life, that is what is important to us, the right to life, we suffered in the bush, we came back home, and we needed also to pick up and join others who were here during the time when we were in the bush,” he said.
The liberation freedom fighter said the right to life has been neglected amongst their members, “thus why we are dying every day, heroes acre is full, we are burying a comrade now and then.”
Ndlovu added that freedom fighters have been rendered poor by the government.
“You see people in the bank queues, the person who is old failing to walk, and I would tell you this is a war vet, it’s easy to identify them because they are living that poor life beyond expected especially from the government like ours which is led by some people who were also in the bush, these are some of our comrades who are making us suffer, it’s very painful,” he said.