HomeLocalZipra approaches Perence Shiri for help

Zipra approaches Perence Shiri for help

The former combatants met the Commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe, Air Marshall Perence Shiri (pictured right) on February 16 and complained about the serious marginalisation of their members despite the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987.

 

Sources said the former Zipra combatants want Shiri, who they view as “more accommodative” than anyone else in the Zanu PF monolith, to present their case to President Robert Mugabe and other security commanders.

Ironically, Shiri is one of the commanders that led a military campaign that resulted in the death of over 20 000 people, including Zipra members in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the 1980s.
In a letter dated March 11 2011 addressed to Shiri, the former Zipra commanders protested against their exclusion from mining diamonds in Chiadzwa and appointments to commissions.

The letter was a “reminder” to a secret meeting held on February 16 2011, between Shiri and the Zipra commanders.

“In spite of the Unity Accord, promotions in the security forces and its leadership has largely remained in favour of former Zanla (Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army),” said the letter.
“Most former combatants are destitute, unemployed without accommodation and have become a mockery to society.”

Zipra was the military wing of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) now being led by Dumiso Dabengwa, a former Zanu PF Politburo member.

The two-page letter was signed by the chairman of Zipra’s finance and projects committee Frederick Charles Mutanda and chairman of the high command management committee Retired Brigadier General Collin Moyo.

It was also copied to the Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), the director of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and the Commissioner of Prisons.

Mutanda, at first refused to comment, demanding to know the source of the story and the person who had given the letter to The Standard.

He later said: “We believe and accept that our political leadership sat down and agreed on this Unity Accord, although fraught with problems as it is, our desire is that all former Zanla commanders be open with us on whether they would want to work with us or not, because now we feel that they want us in the background so they can run the country on their own.”

Mutanda refused to comment on why they approached Shiri, who is one of the commanders blamed for the Gukurahundi atrocities.

But sources said the former Zipra commanders approached Shiri because he is one of the few commanders who have expressed remorse over the Gukurahundi killings.

“Apart from that he is approachable,” said one source, “Shiri listens when you talk and proffers solutions unlike the other influential commanders.”

Efforts to get a comment from Shiri and Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa were unsuccessful last week.

Ex-Zipra fighters also want properties seized from them by government in 1982 returned. They said they have been virtually shut out of Chiadzwa diamond mining activities. The allocation of mining concessions remain a closely guarded secret, they pointed out.

In the same letter, the former Zipra combatants said most of their members were being harassed at their farms by civilians who never participated in the liberation struggle using State and Zanu PF apparatus.

In some instances, they claimed, Zipra High Command members were being harassed by junior former Zanla cadres.

“We are also requesting that former high ranking Zipra officers be deployed in the national land task force to represent our interests,” they said.

The former Zipra cadres also want properties taken by government between 1982 and 1987 during the political disturbances handed back.

In 1980, Zipra combatants contributed money towards the purchase of various businesses and properties as a way of empowering themselves. These were taken by government during the height of political disturbances in that region.

 

EX-ZIPRA FIGHTERS WANT SEIZED PROPERTIES  RETURNED

Ex-Zipra fighters also want properties seized from them by government in 1982 returned. They said they had been virtually shut out of Chiadzwa diamond mining activities. The allocation of mining concessions remains a closely guarded secret, they pointed out.

In the same letter, the former Zipra combatants said most of their members were being harassed at their farms by civilians who never participated in the liberation struggle using State and Zanu PF apparatus.

In some instances, they claimed, Zipra High Command members were being harassed by junior former Zanla cadres.

“We are also requesting that former high-ranking Zipra officers be deployed in the national land task force to represent our interests,” they said.

In 1980, Zipra combatants contributed money towards the purchase of various businesses and properties as a way of empowering themselves. These were taken by government during the height of political disturbances in that region.

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