CHILDREN of Zapu and Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zpra) have come together in a fundraising drive to mobilise financial resources to bring Christmas cheer to liberation war veterans.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
A number of Zapu and Zpra veterans are wallowing in poverty with the government doing little or nothing to offer them any kind of assistance despite their pleas.
Children of Zpra and Zapu Veterans (COZZ) said they had teamed up to mobilise resources needed to purchase Christmas goodies for the surviving liberation war fighters.
“The initiative comes against a background of noting that most Zpra and Zapu cadres are not being taken care of by the government for many reasons and obviously you know that Zapu and Zpra have always been the dark voices of the struggle as government does not want to recognise their role during the liberation war,” Mthulisi Hanana, the director of the Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation (DDF), said.
The DDF is coordinating the fundraising in partnership with Mafela Trust, an independent body seized with documenting Zapu and Zpra’s liberation war exploits.
“When war veterans were being vetted, most Zapu and Zpra cadres were not vetted. “As a result, they are not getting much or not realising any benefit from their participation in the liberation struggle,” Hanana said.
“We have a dilemma that our parents are not recognised as war heroes, are not being taken care of by the government of the day and they had their properties meant to fund their welfare taken away by their government, leaving them to wallow in abject poverty.”
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Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa said the party endorsed the initiative.
“We are not as a party in a position to articulate anything, but only to applaud the initiative to supplement on our struggle veterans’ welfare, which has largely been ignored by the state, leaving Zapu veterans to live and die in abject poverty due to government neglect,” he said.
Zpra — which was the military wing of Zapu during the armed struggle — had several properties under their holding company Nitram seized by government under the Unlawful Organisation Act under caveat number 15 of 82.
Government alleged that it had discovered arms caches precipitating the Gukurahundi mass killings.
The ex-combatants have been pushing for the release of the properties such as farms and buildings and listed as caveats in the title deeds but without success.
According to a Zapu inventory, seized party properties include farms and hotels, among them Castle Arms in Bulawayo, Green Haven — a huge entertainment facility along Victoria Falls Road — and several residential properties.