By NQOBANI NDLOVU
DAGGERS have been drawn over opposition Zapu party presidency after the late former Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s son Sibangilizwe Nkomo expressed interest in the post.
In March, Nkomo resigned from the chairmanship of both the Joshua Nkomo Cultural Movement and the Joshua Nkomo Legacy Restoration Project Trust in order for him to pursue his political dream to become Zapu president.
The opposition party is set to hold its elective congress in August, and the party now appears to have been shaken by Nkomo’s interest to contest the top post.
Party presidential aspirants have sharpened their swords against Nkomo amid accusations that he wants to turn the party into a family dynasty.
Among his rivals is Iphithule Maphosa, who is the party spokesperson.
“We can’t then have inheritance hunters coming up in March 2021 to claim so and so told them to rescue the party after 40 years,” Maphosa said.
Other members eyeing the Zapu presidency are Matabeleland South chairperson Matthew Sibanda, secretary-general Strike Mkandla, Bernard Magugu and Mqondobanzi Magonya.
“At Zapu, we have been toiling to build an institutional organisation whose existence rests on the foundations of equality, loyalty and constitutionalism. We do not have rules with name tags on them.
“We are not a family or clan dynasty. Leadership of the mother party is not hereditary. Neither is it sexually transmitted. If anybody is hunting for their missing inheritance package, Zapu is the wrong place,” Maphosa added.
Nkomo yesterday told Southern Eye that the accusations were coming from people that were scared to stand against him.
“If it was all about inheritance, I would not be contesting the presidency. I have always been a card-carrying member of Zapu from the 1970s, and I never, at any given time, joined other parties. In fact, I should hasten to point out that those throwing insults against me are exhibiting a political culture which is alien to Zapu. It’s a foreign culture which must be nipped in the bud,” Nkomo said.
He said he was confident of winning the presidency.
Initially, Zapu was supposed to hold its congress in April, but it was postponed to August due to logistical problems and the COVID-19 outbreak.
The late VP Nkomo was the long-time leader of PF Zapu, but in 1987, Nkomo’s PF Zapu signed a Unity Accord with the ruling Zanu PF to bring an end to the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland and Midlands regions.
In 2008, the late Dumiso Dabengwa led a number of ex-PF Zapu officials to form a breakaway faction from Zanu PF in order to relaunch Zapu.
Dabengwa led the rebirthed Zapu till he passed away in May 2019.