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Zapu congress hangs in balance

by Staff reporter
31 Mar 2021 at 06:42hrs | Views
ZAPU structures in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South provinces have petitioned the opposition party's top leadership to postpone the elective congress set for next month amid reports of sharp divisions that could lead to a split.

The party was expected to hold provincial conferences last weekend to pave way for the elective congress set for April 30, but the provincial conferences were reportedly marred by alleged rigging, among other irregularities.

As a result, party structures in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South provinces have pulled out of the process in protest, but other provinces are insisting that the congress should be held as scheduled.

"We have made a formal request to postpone the congress because there was no verification of structures partly because of COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings.

"As such, we feel that holding any congress before this important exercise is done will only result in a sham and a rigged congress," Zapu Matabeleland South chairperson Matthew Sibanda told Southern Eye yesterday.

Zapu deputy national organising secretary John Dlamini also confirmed receiving petitions to cancel the elective congress.

"Yes, they have lodged complaints but at the moment, the party is waiting for what other provinces also have to say before the leadership sits and makes a final decision," he said.

The northern region, Mashonaland East and Central have so far held provincial conferences, but party secretarygeneral Strike Mnkandla in a memo annulled the results citing electoral irregularities.

"I was happy that this time the northern region was going to produce the first provincial conference towards congress inside the country. However, this has been mishandled.

"The issuing of the results of the election is done by the secretary-general after any complaints or discrepancies have been sorted.

"If you notice, no recent provincial processes have received this stamp, in spite of the rapid acclamation of outcomes by leaders at various levels.

"The bribery and/or coercion of voters likewise nullify such an election.

"The wearing of regalia from individual leaders is not permissible at an elective conference, just like display of posters and other insignia.

"An elective conference that violates these common standards of elections is null and void," Mnkandla wrote.

The congress is set to elect new party leader following the death of Dumiso Dabengwa in 2019.

Acting president Isaac Mabuka has announced that he will not contest for the top position at the congress.

Several members, including Mnkandla, treasurer-general Mark Mbaiwa, Matabeleland South chairperson Sibanda and party spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa are reportedly eyeing the presidency.

Source - newsday

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