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Chiefs make tough demands



TRADITIONAL chiefs in Matabeleland and the Midlands early this week tabled before President Emmerson Mnangagwa a number of tough demands on top of a public apology that need to be fulfilled in order to bring closure to the 1980s Gukurahundi genocide.


 The demands include the return of more than 100 companies and properties like farms, as well as houses that were seized by the Zanu PF government from Zipra.

Mnangagwa met the chiefs at Bulawayo State House on Monday in an event described by the government as the launch of a manual for community hearings to resolve the atrocities.

When the Gukurahundi massacres were carried out, Mnangagwa was State Security minister in charge of the Central Intelligence Organisation which coordinated the civilian killings together with the military under the guise of taking out “dissidents”.

 During the latest Bulawayo meeting with chiefs, the traditional leaders through National Council of Chiefs president Fortune Charumbira presented Mnangagwa with a 22-page document titled: Manual on Community Engagement Processes by Chiefs on the Gukuruhundi Issue, which was compiled after consultations with key stakeholders like civil society groups.

 The demands that were presented to Mnangagwa, in addition to public acknowledgement of the atrocities and an apology, include social security benefits for families of affected citizens, free education, salaries for affected people, consultation of victims in the healing process, return of properties owned by Zipra seized by the government, infrastructure development in the affected areas, social security benefits for survivors and their families like health insurance and psychosocial support.

 Included on the list are demands for reburials, exhumations and memorials for victims, while there are also demands for payment of salaries and pensions to affected people.

 The chiefs also said people living with disability caused by Gukurahundi atrocities need financial support from the state. The traditional leaders in their report pointed out the severe effects of Gukurahundi that must be reversed.

 “People lost lives, people are still traumatized, women were raped, people lost breadwinners and loved ones, people lost their properties, pensions, salaries and identity; some people want to perfom rituals but they don’t know where their children were buried, Gukurahundi caused migration, (there is) lack of trust in Government institutions and resentment of Government programmes; there is marginalisation and underdevelopment of Matabeleland, most people did not benefit from the land programme . . .” added the chiefs in their dossier.

The traditional leaders also implored on Mnangagwa to help Zipra war veterans regain control of their properties, one of which is Magnet House in Bulawayo that the Zanu PF government seized and turned it into the provincial headquarters of the CIO state spy agency.

 Located at 67 Tenth Avenue in Bulawayo’s city centre, Magnet House has been used by the CIO as a base for torturing opposition supporters for a period dating back to the 2002 and 2008 bloody elections.

There are several other Zipra properties across the country which were also seized by the government during the Gukurahundi era as the then Robert Mugabe administration tried to weaken former Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo by closing his party’s revenue streams.

 The Zpra properties and companies seized by the Zanu PF government which they are demanding also include Nitram (Private) Limited, Walmer Ranching Company, Anele (Private) Limited, Tengam (Private) Limited, J and A Investments (Private) Limited, Zimbabwe Agriculture Development Company, S.B. and W (Private) Limited, Zimbabwe Commercial Investment Company (Private) Limited, Zimbabwe Property Investment (Private) Limited, Nijo Produce (Private) Limited, Salisbury Motel (Private) Limited.

There is also Nitram (Private) Limited; Hamp[1]ton Ranch 5244.7284 hectares, title deed no. 2417/1980BF; Stand 5 Richmond Township, title deed no. 2931981B; Stand 38 Doug[1]lasdale Township, title deed no 9551981B; Stand 39 Douglasdale Township, title deed no 9551981B; Beaconsfield, title deed No. 31651980BF 7.1.6; Lot 110 North Trenance title deed No 26171980B; 7.2.4 Watershed Block 5007.284Mor Gwelo Farm title deed No 199/1969BF; 7.2.5 Shukwe 1941.832ha Matobo Farm title deed No 2799/1980BF; 7.2.6 Devondale measuring 2952.11 hectares called Matobo Farm title deed No 1234/1973BF 7.2.7; and Sambani Matobo Farm.

There are more Zipra properties that they are demanding. These are Anele (Private) Limited; Tengam (Private) Limited; Subdivision D of Subdivision A of Sourinijus title deed No 225319808F; Lot 1 of Subdivision F of Helenvale Block title deed No 266419808F J and A Investments (Private) Limited; Zimbabwe Agricultural Development Company. There is also Deka Falls Railway Strip 6 title deed No 22621980BF; Wankie Farm 34.5198 Acre S. B. and W. (Private) Limited 7.7.1 Lot 50 Sauer’s Township of Dawsons Grant title deed No 1321981F 7.7.2; Lot 51 Sauer’s Township of Dawsons Grant title deed No 1321981F.

 In addition, there is also the Zimbabwe Commercial Investment Company (Private) Limit[1]ed; Stand 7354 Highfield Township (Harare), diagram deed No 4838/1980; Stand 7565 of Stand 7585 Highfield Township, diagram deed No 4837/1980; Subdivision Z of Subdivision A and B of Inkubsi of Hopley, diagram deed No 4832/1980; Subdivision Z of Subdivision A and B of Inkubsi of Hopley, diagram deed No 4832/1980; Stand 12906 Salisbury Township, diagram deed 4835/1980; Stand 502 Ardbennie Township, diagram deed 4836/1980; Lot 50 Sauer’s Township of Dawsons Grant title deed No 4321981F; Stand 249 Midlands Township 2 of Upper Waterfall Estate diagram deed No 4834/1980; 7.8.8 Kenilworth 663.8 hectares Salisbury diagram deed No 4833/1980; 7.8.9 Carisbrook 729 Mor and Salisbury diagram deed No 4833/1980.

“ZIPRA Trust suggested that one of the key factors to resolving the Gukurahundi issue was for the Government to facilitate the return of ZIPRA properties, memorabilia and records that were seized during that period. It was argued that the return of ZIPRA records would ensure the posterity of its history,” reads part of the chiefs’ dossier to Mnangagwa.

The chiefs also indicated to the ruling party’s leader in their manual that the process of resolving Gukurahundi must guarantee the protection of victims from victimisation before and after giving evidence of the massacres on the record.

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