ZPRA veterans to protest over seized properties
Former ZPRA veterans are planning to embark on a massive demonstration in Harare to demand back their properties which were seized by the government.
The former freedom fighters said they have exhausted all possible avenues in engaging the government and believe confrontation might yield some results.
The Chairman of Nitram Investments Private Limited, (an investment vehicle owned by Zipra veterans) John Gazi, confirmed that efforts to engage with both the old and current government had not succeded during a meeting held Sunday in Bulawayo.
“These efforts have failed as much as we tried. We were promised by the late former president Robert Mugabe on April around 6 to 7, 2016 at the National Sports Stadium that he was going to lift the Caveat Act but that failed,” he said.
After the removal of Mugabe, Gazi said the veterans approached President Mnangagwa ( supposedly on July 23, 2019) who raised their hopes but up to date, their request lies unresolved.
“Engagement can take another 10 years but it has failed, we have written several letters to the government but nothing materialised. Now the government is parcelling out our properties such as Nijo Farm and we hear from the press that Zanu is going to embark on income generating projects using our properties. Why didn’t they do these projects in 1980,” he said.
After Gazi’s statements, ZPRA Veterans Association Spokesperson, Buster Magwizi asked the floor what could be done to reclaim their property back.
The veterans were in agreement to embark on mass action to say ‘enough was enough’ and no one could blame them for this direction.
“We must organise ourselves, approach Mnangagwa – tell him we want our properties and that we will not leave until they listen,” Jabulani Ndlela said.
Magwizi noted that such a bold move “required brave individuals, not turncoats once they arrived in Harare.”
Johnson Mkandla, a former magistrate, added that another move could be to draft powerful statements to regional and international blocs to expose Zanu PF.
“Zanu doesn’t want its dirty linen exposed for all to see, therefore we must write to SADC, and even the Queen in Britain and expose them since the party claims to be reviving itself,” he said.
Magwizi concurred that the veterans must also load the embassies with their queries, including the countries ZPRA worked with during the liberation struggle.
“We have been short changed for decades concerning our properties and we continue to be denied until today. We must also institute local laws to stop NASSA, Zanu PF and land barons from taking our land. We will do all these things at the same time,” said the spokesperson.
The former freedom fighters are yet to hold their Annual General Meeting in the first week of December to plan further.
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 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.