Prince Sunduzani, Chronicle Reporter
ZAPU President, Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, has said he will retire from active politics in 2020.
Addressing a press conference in Bulawayo yesterday, Dr Dabengwa said the party’s constitution does not allow him to be the leader beyond 2020 as he would have served for two terms as required.
He said next year he will launch a foundation in his name for people to appreciate the country’s history, promoting values of democracy and constitutionalism, among others.
“At last year’s congress I was re-elected as president for my second and last term. I took the opportunity to remind party members that our party constitution has a limit of two presidential terms and that I would therefore serve only until 2020. Happily for me, this will be just after my 80th birthday and a good time to make way for new leadership,” said Dr Dabengwa.
“On reflection, it became clear to me that there is need to prepare mentally and to plan for life after full time politics. Friends and political allies at first were surprised about my resolve that the party has to start looking for a new leadership instead of waiting until the last minute. In the meantime I am doing everything and will continue to serve ZAPU until we secure a meaningful stake in a post 2018 elections government.”
Dr Dabengwa said he started participating in politics at the age of 24, which was considered an act of disobedience by the settler regime.
The Zapu leader said he subsequently joined the liberation struggle to fight for a better future for Zimbabwe.
Dr Dabengwa’s, who is also the chairperson of the Coalition of Democrats (Code) said they were negotiating for a broader alliance.
“I happen to be overall chairperson of the Code coalition which has six parties under its wing, and as chairman of Code I have already started talking to the other two coalitions, the Rainbow coalition and the MDC alliance,” he said.
“My push is that by the time the elections take place, all these coalitions would have one presidential candidate. I’m very hopeful that by the time we go to elections we will have one candidate.”
He added: “The ego issues are there and have been there, this is why in Code I said two candidates have been produced and I said Mangoma (Elton) leader of Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) come in, I’m old enough and will be retiring in two years so take over and be the presidential candidate.
“I wish that spirit can prevail with the other coalitions where people can say I’m standing against Mangoma and I think he has better chances and I will stand down for him.”