GOVERNMENT has agreed to return properties confiscated from PF-Zapu during the 1980s after intensive pressure from former Zipra cadres, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.
The government in 2001 released the properties into the custody of politicians who have been leasing them for token amounts. The new move means that ex-Zipra cadres would have a say in the control of the properties.
Party insiders said the properties, owned by Zapu-affiliated Nitram Holdings, would be handed over at a closed-door meeting in Bulawayo this weekend to a committee made up of members of the Zipra High Command during the liberation war.
Nitram director Dumiso Dabengwa this week confirmed that all the Zapu properties were returned by the government and said Nitram was looking at ways of how the properties could be managed by members.
Dabengwa could not confirm however whether chefs renting the Zapu farms had vacated them.
“The properties were returned by government a long time ago,” said Dabengwa. “However, what we need to do is to find mechanisms on how to manage the properties now that they are in our hands.”
The government seized the properties after arms caches were allegedly discovered at Ascot and Hampton farms in 1982. The government seized other Zapu properties on the pretext that they were hideouts for dissident plotters against the government.
The other properties include Nest Egg poultry farm in Hope Fountain and Woodglen Farm along the Victoria Falls road. Also confiscated were removals company Black Cat, Kudu Motors and Castle Arms Hotel in Richmond.
Party sources said Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo and Dabengwa were instrumental in securing the release of the properties that include farms, buildings, a service station, a hotel and several business units.
War veterans national acting chairman Patrick Nyaruwata will join Dabengwa and Nkomo at the Bulawayo indaba.
The farms and properties fell under Nitram Holdings, a company formed by PF-Zapu using money raised from contributions from ex-Zapu cadres and ex-detainees.
Highly placed sources in the party said the local politburo and central committee leadership was worried by divisions among war veterans that culminated in the ousting of provincial chairman Jabulani Sibanda from both the party and the war veterans association and hence their move to have the properties returned as a way of uniting the war veterans.
The leadership in the province is backing Nkomo for president and the move to have the farms and property returned is aimed at pacifying former Zipra fighters who are divided over who to back as Mugabe’s successor, sources said.
Sibanda is backing the candidacy of party secretary for administration Emmerson Mnangagwa
War veterans and Zanu PF provinces are going to play an instrumental role in the succession issue, hence the need by those jostling for the post to win the loyalty of the two groups.