ZAPU has blamed its current financial woes on President Robert Mugabe and his government, which seized properties belonging to the then Joshua Nkomo-led opposition party in the 1980s.
The now-revived Zapu, led by Dumiso Dabengwa, is facing eviction from its Bulawayo offices after failing to settle rent arrears of more than $10 000.
The party’s deputy spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa said had Mugabe not nationalised PF Zapu and Zipra properties such as Magnet House in Bulawayo, it would not be scavenging for offices now.
“At independence and subsequent years into the early 1980s, nobody ever imagined Zapu would one day find itself in such a sorry state of desperation, especially financially,” he said.
“The mother party was well ahead of time in as far as investing for the future was concerned. “Zapu had numerous properties that included buildings and farms that had crops and thousands of livestock, which were giving economic value to the party. All daily financial needs of Zapu were sure to be taken care of from these assets.”
The original Zapu lost property such as Nest Egg poultry farm in Hope Fountain, Woodglen Farm along Victoria Falls Road and Snake Park in Harare.
The government also grabbed a removals company, Black Cat, Kudu Motors and Castle Arms Motel in Richmond, among many others.
Zapu is now being sued by a Bulawayo company, Main Investment and Construction (Pvt) Limited, which is seeking the eviction of the party from number 15 JM Nkomo Street and Connaught Avenue over $10 750 in rental arrears.
Maphosa said Mugabe’s government started with the seizure of Zapu properties as a way of weakening the party financially before unleashing Gukurahundi in Matabeleland and Midlands, which resulted in more than 20 000 civilians being killed allegedly by the Fifth Brigade.
“Zapu feels it is poor today because of Mugabe and his government,” Maphosa said.
“Mugabe’s personal hatred of Zapu led his government to seize the party’s properties never to return them even after arm-twisting Zapu into a sham Unity Accord in 1987. The neutralised threat of the opposition was not enough for Mugabe to even consider returning Zapu’s hard-earned assets to the rightful owners.”
Maphosa said as a result, Zapu today was facing one financial crisis after the other.
“Today, media houses go to town reporting on our financial misfortunes and this has undoubtedly put a wide smile on Mugabe and his surrogates,” he said.
“Zapu calls on Mugabe, Zanu PF and the government to return its properties without any conditions.
“It must be noted by this government and Mugabe that these properties were not donated to Zapu, but were bought by members.
“For a government and head of government to act in a cold and callous manner regarding these properties smacks of a government that does not respect or promote property rights of its citizens.” Newsday