Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
ZAPU is expected to hold its elective congress next month with six candidates jostling for the party’s top post.
The elective congress, which seeks to elect a new leadership following the death of the party president and national hero, Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, is slated to run from October 29 to October 31.
The party has on several occasions failed to hold the elective congress meant to replace its late leader who died in May 2019.Initially, the congress was set for April 30, but was postponed to August 31, with the party citing Covid-19 preventive measures.
Those aspiring to be party president include the late former Vice-President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo’s son, Sibangilizwe, secretary-general Mr Strike Mnkandla, the party’s Matabeleland South chairperson Mr Matthew Sibanda and United Kingdom-based Ms Sithembiso Mpofu.
Other aspirants are Mr Bernard Magugu and current treasurer-general Mr Mark Mbaiwa. During the congress, the party will elect the president, vice-president, national chairperson, secretary-general and treasurer-general.
One of the aspirants, Ms Mpofu said in the event that she is elected the president of the party, she would fight for gender equality and help transform the party’s economic policies ahead of the country’s harmonised elections in 2023.
“Many a time, women have been discriminated against when it comes to leadership positions in Zapu. Now is the time to change that perception that we are not capable of leading and once elected, I will prioritise gender equality in the party,” she said.
The party’s interim president, Mr Isaac Mabuka confirmed to Chronicle that the party’s congress was now set for October.
“We agreed as a party that the elective congress would be held in October either in Harare or Bulawayo. The arrival date for delegates is October 29 with the actual congress taking place on October 30 and delegates leaving the venue on October 31,” he said. “However, in the event there is another review of the Covid-19 lockdown, we will then host the elective congress virtually. We have a congress planning committee which will determine on that issue.”
Mr Mabuka said while there are six candidates who have confirmed that they will contest for the presidential race, the party’s constitution has a provision allowing candidates to come from the floor. “At the moment, we have we six candidates, but more names of candidates can come from the floor on the day of the congress as long as that person is chosen by at 25 percent of the delegates, she or he can go into the race,” he said.
Mr Mabuka said during the elective congress, the party only elects the top five with members of the national executive council (NEC) being chosen from provinces. “By the time we get to the congress we will already be having the names of the NEC members because every province brings four members into the NEC.
When the names come, they will only be announced at the congress,” he said. Recently, the party’s former director for security Mr Andrew Ndlovu wrote to Mr Mabuka complaining about senior party members who are no longer performing their duties as they jostled for posts ahead of the elective congress. In a memorandum dated August 13, Ndlovu said he was worried that the NEC and national people’s council (NPC) members, jostling for posts was affecting the direction in which the party was headed to.
“Their move has left many Zapu members in the dark as to which direction Zapu was heading to. More than 50 percent of NEC/NPC members are Zapu presidential aspiring candidates. The same people will also take part in the board which will hear disputes of aspiring presidential candidates,” read the memorandum. “So, the truth is they cannot be judges in their own cases. As a result, there will be no free and fair presidential election at congress if the above matter is not addressed accordingly.” [email protected]