Several properties belonging to Zapu and its military wing during the armed struggle, the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zpra), were seized by government under the Unlawful Organisation Act.
Government alleged that it had discovered arms caches at the properties precipitating the Gukurahundi mass killings.
Zapu and Zpra ex-combatants have been pushing for the return of the properties such as farms and buildings, but without success.
This week, Kasukuwere fascinated Zapu and Zipra when he promised to return the properties if elected president in the August 23 polls.
“Zapu properties under Nitram (Investments) shall be returned to the Zipra veterans who had contributed forthwith and with appropriate compensation for occupation of their buildings and assets,” Kasukuwere posted on his Twitter account.
Zapu spokesperson Mso Ndlovu, yesterday applauded Kasukuwere for his promise.
“But we will hold him to his word after the elections whatever the outcome,” Ndlovu said.
“If this is a vote-buying gimmick, which eventually earns him votes, then those who vote for him will have a responsibility to make him account for his promises.”
Social and political commentator Effie Ncube, said Kasukuwere was demonstrating courage that is lacking in many politicians.
“By going for big issues that others are avoiding, he is sending the right messages at the right time. This should challenge others who have tried to avoid dealing head-on with legacies of the Gukurahundi genocide,” Ncube said.
“While he has not articulated a comprehensive plan on how he will, if elected, address the Gukurahundi genocide, he at least is brave enough to raise it at this crucial point in time.”
But Bulawayo-based cleric Anglistone Sibanda dismissed the pledge as a political gimmick.
“He is a beneficiary of Zanu-PF and one of the brains behind the entrenched systematic structural marginalisation of the region,” Sibanda said.
Zpra veterans bought several properties across the country with contributions from their demobilisation pay-outs.
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi once claimed government will not return the properties.
Former Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko once promised to facilitate the return of the seized properties, 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.