FORMER Home Affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa’s leadership of the opposition Zapu is under threat amid reports of attempts to unseat him as internal power struggles in the party worsen.
Source: Dabengwa’s leadership under threat – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 9, 2017
BY SILAS NKALA
Zapu’s Bulawayo province will on Saturday hold elections with reports indicating battlelines have been drawn between rival factions angling for Dabengwa’s job.
Party secretary-general Strike Mkandla is allegedly leading a faction pushing for an elective congress before Dabengwa’s current term expires in 2020. There are claims that the dissolution of the Bulawayo executive, facilitated by a group known as the “Milleniads” for alleged “incompetency”, was part of a plot to weaken his bid.
Zapu deputy spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa, who is accused of leading the Milleniads group, while confirming provincial elections are set for Saturday, denied the existence of factions within the party.
“We had an interim executive put in place and its sole mandate and task was to mobilise Bulawayo and prepare for elections.
“They have done a splendid job and we have seen it proper to hold the elections this month. The interim committee had a very short stint in office after the party realised we did not have deep-rooted problems in the province as all as our districts remained intact and fledging,” Maphosa said, adding nominations have already been concluded.
However, Maphosa tried to pour cold water on reports of factional fights and the push to remove Dabengwa.
“The president, the national peoples’ council and national executive committee are elected by congress and we just had one in 2016. The next congress will be in 2020 and until then there will not be any changes to the composition of these structures and offices unless by and through circumstances beyond our control.
“Everybody within Zapu knows that and I wonder where all this factionalism and presidency stuff is coming from,” Maphosa said denying the dissolution of Bulawayo provincial leadership was linked to power struggles.
Mkandla was not immediately available for comment.
Insiders claim Dabengwa’s supporters in the Milleniads group are targeting the secretary-general’s strongholds. The dissolution of Bulawayo was followed by a similar “unpublicised exercise in Harare”.
But Maphosa claimed the party’s leadership in Harare had “voluntarily dissolved itself”.
Former Highlanders administrator Roger Muhlwa is being touted as the front runner for the chairmanship post and faces competition from Gibson Sibanda, who headed the dissolved executive.
Another possible challenger is Johnson Mkandla, a former magistrate also linked to his namesake.