ZPRA veterans are now turning to Vice President Kembo Mohadi in their latest attempt to reclaim their property from the government.
Their properties, now estimated to be worth billions of United States Dollars, were confiscated by the late former president Robert Mugabe’s administration under the Unlawful Organisation Act in 1982 (Caveat No. 15 of 82).
They were later transferred to the President of Zimbabwe in January 1987 (under Caveat No. 56 of 87).
Since then, the former freedom fighters have been trying to regain their properties and even met up with President Emmerson Mnangagwa last year July 23, who promised them they would be handed back.
But nothing has materialised.
ZPRA Veterans Association Spokesperson, Buster Magwizi, said they were now appealing to VP Mohadi to hear them out.
The ex-ZPRA cadres met President Mnangagwa at the Bulawayo State House on February 14 early this year when he came down for an engagement with the Matabeleland Collective and they once again raised the issue of their properties.
“At the Bulawayo 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.”
Magwizi said the treatment they have been receiving the government was disheartening.
“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.”
Magwizi vowed that they will continue demanding their property until the government relents.
“We are saying, we are not tired of doing that because we want those properties back. This item of the boards or whatever committees meeting, should come out from them. If they want to appoint their own emissaries to talk for us, they must come out in the open and tell us they want so and so,” Magwizi said.
“But we are saying, we have our own representatives from the cluster of ZPRA, the high command members are still there, the intermediate and rank and filers are still there. All people are represented.”
He added that the ZPRA Veterans Association has a register, which has more than 11 000 cadres who should benefit from of these properties.
“We are growing older and sooner than later, we will have high Blood Pressure before we enjoy our properties. When therefore can we say Ebenezer? We want Ebenezer also,” said the former freedom fighter.
“I’m sure the government will listen if journalists tell them in a manner they understand and what we are saying is we want our properties back. We want the government to open up the doors and we are going to construct our team so that whenever they are ready to accommodate us they must show indication.”
Magwizi accused the government of taking their plight lightly.
“Right now we think they are just dilly dallying, wasting a lot of time and in the meantime they are parcelling out, demergering Nitram properties and issuing them out to Zanu-PF like Nijo Farm and other properties given out to other people.”
Arda-Nijo Estates was reportedly transferred from the government to Zanu- PF party through a letter written by late Agriculture Minister, Perrance Shiri acting on the authority of President ED Mnangagwa.
“After we had presented to the president our issue on February 14, then we see this anomaly when Shiri issues Nijo Farm to Zanu-PF. This is unheard of, it’s unfair. It is like stealing from the dead. Bones will speak one day, so we want our properties back,” said the ZPRA Veterans spokesperson.
ZPRA veterans had contributed $50 each from their demobilisation payout after independence to purchase 52 properties through their investment vehicle, Nitram Investments Private Limited.