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Return of ZIPRA properties is the best way to honor Nkomo: Chamisa

Opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa says the best way to honour the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo’s legacy is for the ruling Zanu PF party to immediately return all Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) properties it seized in the 80’s.

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and President Emmerson Mnangagwa
Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and President Emmerson Mnangagwa

The properties were seized from Nkomo’s PF-Zapu party at the height of the Gukurahundi Massacres and the issue has been a subject of anger. The assets were bought by ex-combatants after the liberation war that ended in 1980.

The Zanu PF administration has always been arguing that the properties were seized following alleged discovery of arms caches at some of the Zapu party farms.

Nkomo who led PF-Zapu until the signing of the Unity Accord with Zanu PF in November 1987, when he was appointed Vice-President, died on July 1, 1999 and was declared a national hero.

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His life is mostly celebrated in July.

Chamisa yesterday said the only way to respect Nkomo was to return the ZIPRA properties.

“July is a special month as we remember Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo for his heroic contribution to the liberation struggle.

“The best way to honour Nkomo’s legacy is for the government to immediately return all ZIPRA properties and all such properties that belonged to Nkomo,” Chamisa said in a statement.

ZIPRA properties include those owned by Nitram (Pvt) Ltd, a holding company formed by Zipra ex-freedom fighters from their demobilisation payments.

One of the properties in Bulawayo, Magnet House and is now being used by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

Last year, ZIPRA Veterans Association leader Buster Magwizi accused the Zanu PF led government of stripping off and parcelling out their seized properties to party politicians.

“Right now, we think they are just dilly dallying, wasting a lot of time and in the meantime they are parcelling out, demerging Nitram properties and issuing them out to Zanu PF like Nijo farm and other properties given out to other people.

“After we had presented to the President our issue on February 14, we saw this anomaly when (Late Perrance) Shiri issued Nijo farm to Zanu PF.

“This is unheard of. It is unfair. It is like stealing from the dead. Bones will speak one day, so we want our properties back,” said Magwizi.