Home Affairs deputy Minister, Dumiso Dabengwa, seems to have developed a knack for opening lids that his bosses and compatriots would want to see remain closed. He has been at loggerheads with senior party officials for championing the cause to bring water to Matebeleland and now he has just opened another hornet’s nest by revealing that out of the $750 000 contributed by former ZIPRA combatants to start projects which would create employment for them once they were demobilised only $113 00 can be accounted for.
Former Zipra combatants have been demanding to know what happened to this money since the end of the dissident war in 1988 and it appears one of the major causes of the war was the confiscation of ZAPU properties which the ex-combatants considered to be rightfully theirs as they believed they had been bought with the money they contributed.
Now 11 years later they are told their investment is only worth $113 000. Even by simply comparing the value of the dollar in 1981 and today without taking into account interest rates and the escalation of prices of properties that might have been bought at that time, the ex-combatants should have expected their investment to have increased at least tenfold. To be told it has depreciated sevenfold sounds more like an insult to the very intelligence of those members who contributed their modest earnings.
Having taken this very bold step to talk about a subject that no one has so far dared to, Dabengwa might as well take the case to its logical conclusion. There should be an inventory of which properties were sold, for how much and who bought them. After all some of them are reported to have been handed back to ZAPU. Who received them since there is no longer a party called ZAPU?
If they were taken over by the then ZANU-PF party in the name of the government, what happens now that the two parties are together? This poses another serious question. ZANU-PF has a lot of business interests through it’s holding companies ZIDCO Holdings and M and S Syndicate. Do former ZAPU members have a stake in these companies?
With the ex-combatants now united under the War Veterans Association, they should be able to solve this small problem and be given their hard-earned cash back with the long deserved interest.