FORMER ex-Zipra combatants are setting up an emergency taskforce committee that would engage the Emmerson Mnangagwa led-government over their outstanding grievances.
Zipra – the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army was the armed wing of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU).
The resolution was made during a former Zipra war veterans meeting attended by representatives of all Zipra Veterans affiliates from Matabeleland provinces held in Bulawayo on Sunday.
During that meeting, members raised several complaints which they expect to be urgently addressed by the new government.
In an interview, Zipra Veterans Secretary General, Petros Sibanda, confirmed that issues raised during the meeting included the welfare of the former fighters, seized Zipra properties and the outstanding vetting issue of former Zipra combatants.
“Out of 17 000 Zipra cadres who were once assembled in different locations during the armed struggle, only 4 000 veterans have been vetted and are receiving their benefits, leaving the rest in the cold. During the meeting, a call was made to mobilise all cadres dead or alive across the country for vetting. This vetting will enable them and their dependents to be eligible for assistance,” Sibanda said.
He added that their meeting also discussed the veteran’s welfare, criteria for national heroes’ status, school feels and other war veterans’ programmes.
The meeting was also attended by Zanu PF aligned former Zipra cadres, who demanded the return of all confiscated ZAPU and Zipra properties, which were confiscated by the government in 1982.
The properties which were seized during the height of Gukurahundi include Castle Arms Motel and Nitram Holdings in Bulawayo.
“Deputy Minister of Defence and War Veterans Victor Matemadanda visited Bulawayo two weeks ago and promised that government was prepared to fund projects for war veterans. However as Zipra Veterans we demand the return of all confiscated ZAPU and Zipra properties so that we can do these projects on those properties,” the veterans secretary general said.
Sibanda noted his association has already put in place structures in all provinces which would coordinate all programmes concerning Zipra veteran’s welfare.