ZAPU in turmoil

dumiso dabengwa d.jpgA FACTION within ZAPU has broken ranks with the party’s leadership two weeks before crucial elections, citing irreconcilable differences over the manner the party is being run.
Documents seen by The Financial Gazette show that the faction passed a vote of no confidence in Dumiso Dabengwa, the ZAPU leader, and elected Ray Ncube as its president at a meeting held in Gweru on June 24.
War veteran, Canciwell Nziramasanga was elected vice president, while Stylish Magida is the second vice president.
Other executive members include Bishop Chigwevere who was elected national chairperson, Bekithemba Sibanda (secretary general), Solomon Nhamo (national organising secretary) and Lloyd Masarirambi as the group’s foreign affairs secretary.Tamuka Chihota was elected secretary for publicity, with Mcdonald Muswere coming in as treasurer general.
Ncube’s team was granted permission to put in place a national executive.
“All members who attended gave a vote of no confidence  against Dumiso Dabengwa and his presidium,” a statement released by the faction after the meeting said.
“People from all provinces nominated and endorsed Ray Ncube as the party president and Comrade Canciwell Nziramasanga vice president with immediate effect. People at the conference were disappointed by the way Dumiso Dabengwa was running the party and misusing party funds and resources,” the statement added.
The faction claimed 250 members attended the Gweru meeting. The faction is also accusing Dabengwa, who ditched ZANU-PF in 2008 to join Simba Makoni’s Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn before moving on to revive ZAPU, of secretly maintaining contact with President Robert Mugabe’s party.
But ZAPU spokesperson, Mark Mbayiwa, this week said no-one had broken ranks with Dabengwa. He, however, said it was a democratic right for anybody to have their own political organisation.
“I suppose they were trying to intimate to us that something is in the offing but we are not aware of their decision,” he said.
At the close of the Nomination Court recently, no one from the faction had submitted papers to contest in the elections.
Dabengwa’s ZAPU would be fielding between 80 and 90 candidates to contest both House of Assembly and Senate seats.
Dabengwa also threw his hat into ring for the presidential race where he faces President Mugabe, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Welshman Ncube, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Kisnote Mukwazhi.
ZAPU has since sealed a deal with the MDC that would see their parties mobilising supporters for each other in constituencies each of the parties would not be contesting.
While Dabengwa and ZAPU are not being viewed as serious contenders in the forthcoming polls, splits and breakaways before elections tend to confuse supporters of fringe political parties, giving ZANU-PF the latitude to maintain its dominance in Zimbabwean politics.
The dramatic events in ZAPU, one of the two parties that fought for the liberation of Zimbabwe, ahead of general elections on July 31, inflict serious setbacks for the troubled movement, which has been fighting to regain the support it once enjoyed during the days of the late national hero, vice president Joshua Nkomo.

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