Ex-Zipra combatants invade former Zapu properties

Loughty Dube

SCORES of former Zipra combatants have invaded properties that were handed over to the former Zapu by the government last year as it has emerged that former party officials were pocketing procee

ds from the properties.


The disgruntled ex-Zipra combatants have vowed not to move out until Nitram Holdings – a company formed in 1981 by 20 000 ex-Zipra combatants to purchase properties – sells the properties and shares the proceeds.


Scores of ex-Zipra combatants last month stormed Castle Arms Motel on the outskirts of Bulawayo and camped there vowing not to move out unless the properties were shared amongst contributing members.


“There are some greedy people in Nitram Holdings who are taking advantage of the chaotic situation to make a killing for themselves and this is being done at the expense of members who contributed their money towards the project,” said an ex-combatant who spoke on condition of anonymity.


The properties in question were acquired by Zapu in the early 80s using funds contributed by ex-Zipra combatants but the properties were confiscated by the government after an arms cache was discovered at one of the Zipra farms in 1982.


When contacted for comment, Dumiso Dabengwa, the former Zipra intelligence supremo who was one of the Zipra commanders who organised the deal, said he could not discuss Zipra issues over the phone.


“I am in Harare at the moment and I do not comment on Zipra issues over the phone,” said Dabengwa.


Some of the properties owned by Nitram Holding include Woolglen farm in Umguza, and Nest Egg farm and Hampton farm in Gweru.


Ex-Zipra combatants who spoke to the Independent said some of their leaders were treating the properties as personal business entities.


“These people behave as if they personally own Zipra properties but they should call for a meeting and the contributors should decide whether they want the properties sold and the money raised shared out equally among contributors,” said Max Mnkandla, the president of the Zimbabwe Liberators Peace Initiative, an organisation of former freedom fighters and ex-detainees.