Zapu-Canada provincial elective conference out come
2011 August 04 11:03:37 | 621 ViewsLocated in the southern tip of Ontario, Canada and a mere 15 minute drive to the United States frontier, the City of St. Catharines became a hive of activity for members and supporters of the Zimbabwe's opposition party and former liberation movement, the Zimbabwe African People's Union, ZAPU. The party faithful began arriving in this scenic city which is close to the world renowned tourist resort of Niagara Falls on Saturday to prepare for its Canada Province's Elective Conference which took place in two locations simultaneously, at the Folk Arts Multi-Cultural center, in St. Catharines city center (Eastern Region) and in Edmonton, Alberta, (Western region) linked by video.
The Zimbabwe African People's Union pulled out of the 1987 Unity Accord with President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF after a special congress in 2009. The Unity Accord of 1987 was signed by founding Zapu president, the revered Dr. Joshua Nkomo to end a bloody onslaught on its supporters by the then ruling party, Zanu PF. Zapu pulled out of the accord sighting broken promises and disagreements over policy matters and has existed autonomously outside the accord since 2009. The former liberation movement is now aggressively rebuilding its structures across all of Zimbabwe's 10 provinces plus four diaspora provinces, namely South Africa, Europe, USA and Canada. The party held its first post Unity Accord congress in the city of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in August 2010 where it elected a substantive executive structure and its president, former Zipra (Zapu's former armed wing) intelligence chief Dr. Dumiso Dabengwa. The establishment of diaspora provinces through a resolution at that congress was necessitated by the exodus of Zimbabweans to diverse parts of the world including Canada. With a significant community of Zimbabweans, Zapu has been mobilizing people to support the party whose main thrust is the creation of a democratic state through the devolution of power to the provinces. Since its inception in 2009, Zapu–Canada Province has been run by an Interim Executive of nine members led by Interim Chairperson, a former Zipra cadre Mr Jubbie Nyathi who is based in Edmonton, Alberta.
Zapu-Canada membership has grown steadily in the last 2 years to a point where the leadership felt it needed to bring the life of its interim structure to an end. It needed to elect a substantive executive body which will run its affairs and mobilize resources to support the party that is operating under difficult political and economic conditions back home. Zapu-Canada wishes to engage Canadians and educated them on the plight of Zimbabwean people. Canadian people may also seek associate or affiliate membership if they wish to support the protection, and promotion of human rights in Zimbabwe. The election process began with the establishment of districts, branches and even cells in some cases, in cities with a sizeable concentration of Zimbabweans. This was followed by the creation of an Elections Committee chaired by Mr Ray Ndlovu of Alberta in March this year. The Committee created guidelines and procedures for holding an elective conference. A little while later Zapu-Canada issued an invitation to all members across Canada to contest the 18 leadership positions which range from Chairmanship to Committee member. The party also has a Council of Elders Chair portfolio, ZAWU Chair portfolio (a women's wing) and a Youth Chair portfolio across all its structures. After enough nominations had been received, a date was then set for the Elective conference. It was deemed necessary to hold the election in two different locations largely due to the size of Canada. Many members were unable to take time off work and travel a long distance while others found it difficult to get time off their jobs, so the two locations were a compromise.
With the current bulk of Zapu-Canada membership based in Ontario, St Catharines was convenient location for most people and it proved to be a perfect spot for the diaspora Zimbabweans. Linked by video, the event was presided over by a member of the Board of Directors who seconded the role of the Council of Elders, Dr Zuzile Cindi of Toronto as is required by the party's constitution.
Zapu Canada delegates descended on the city of St. Catharines as early as 10.00am on Sunday to help set up the venue and video equipment to link up with their compatriots in Edmonton Alberta. Many of the members present were eager to take part in a democratic election for the first time ever in their lives, a right which they hope will one day be enjoyed by everyone in their native land. The process began in earnest after a full hour of greetings and introductions to one another as most members had never met before except through communicating by email or telephone. A Toronto based member who originally hails from Mashonaland Central, in Zimbabwe, Ms Isabel Murambiwa delivered the opening prayer and appealed to all Zimbabweans to fight the scourge of tribalism and rally behind Zapu, whose founding principles based on equity, civil liberties, and an unflinching commitment to the rule of law is best positioned to pull Zimbabwe from the doldrums. In a quivering voice reminiscent of that of a seasoned preacher, Ms Murambiwa invoked the names of Zimbabwe's liberation heroes such as Joshua Nkomo and Josiah Chinamano and urged all present to emulate their lives. The prayer was followed by opening remarks by the Elections Committee Ray Ndlovu.
Before formally dissolving the Interim Executive, the outgoing chairman Mr Jubbie Nyathi read a 'Message of Solidarity' from Zapu's Secretary General, Dr. Ralph Mguni who praised the Province's leadership and members for their ' 'hard word,' in making this day a reality. Kennedy Zulu, Secretary of the Treasury and Resource Mobilization briefed the membership on the current financial status of the Province. Following that, the interim structure was dissolved and the election process began. A handful of candidates ran unopposed but all the candidates had to make a presentation on their biography, their vision for the future and the role of the party in Zimbabwe's politics today. The candidates came out shining, revealing a rare type of DNA never seen in any other political party in Zimbabwe. One simply had to be there to believe it was happening. The voting was by a secret ballot, a first for many while others simply wanted to take part in a 'fair' election. After all was said and done, Zapu Canada ushered in a substantive new executive led by the new Chairman, Toronto based Mr. Nephat Siziba and deputized by Sympathy Sihawu Moyo of Montreal.
Mr. Siziba comes from the district of Nkayi in Zimbabwe's Matebeleland North Provinces. His membership in Zapu dates back to the 1980s when he was a Youth Front member living in the suburb of Luveve in Bulawayo. The new chairperson wasted no time in outlining his vision for Zapu Canada when he talked about the creation of 'Zapu communities' in Canadian cities in his acceptance speech.
After all the results were announced, Regional Coordinator Felix F. Silundika was on hand to confirm the names of the 10 Zapu Canada members to serve in the party's law making body, the National People's Council, NPC. Also present was Ocean Mlaga of Ottawa who coordinates the party's Diaspora Golden Jubilee Celebrations. Mr Mlaga thanked the Board of Directors for registering the party and all those who contributed to the success of the event. Zapu, Zimbabwe's oldest liberation movement turns 50 on December 17 this year. Ms Murambiwa returned to the stage with a closing prayer afterwhich the delegates burst into a rendition of Zapu's favorite war-time tune 'Gore rino, hapana chakanaka, tonosangana kuZimbabwe!'
The program ended with a treat of dinner prepared by members and supporters.
Zapu-Canada thanks all its members and supporters alike who worked hard and contributed to the success of its elective conference.
Source: Zapu-Canada Mobilizing and Organising Department.
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