ZANU PF Bulawayo province is deeply divided over firebrand former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda, pictured, who is being tipped to take over the province’s chairmanship.
The province was left without a chair after Callistus Ndlovu passed away last month.
A few weeks later, President Emmerson Mnangagwa dissolved its entire leadership and assigned his deputy, Kembo Mohadi to preside over its restructuring.
Jostling for the position has now reached fever-pitch with the combative former Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) chairperson boss touted to occupy the post.
Before the dissolution of the structures, party youths had already resolved to back Sibanda for the chairmanship.
They have continued to do so though party hardliners, including officials in the national executive, are resisting the move.
Khumbulani Mpofu, the former youth chair in the recently dissolved structure, confirmed these manoeuvres.
“It’s true that the Bulawayo youths are rallying behind Jabulani Sibanda. It is because he is a seasoned politician, and he once held the position of Bulawayo provincial chair,” said Mpofu.
“The youths believe that he is capable and that he has the ability to rejuvenate their spirits. He has the political strength and muscle; he understands the youths.
“When he was chairman, he had youth centred mobilisation programmes and he was an active leader. Youths are energetic and they also need an energetic leader. They don’t want someone who is docile and who will want to be in control all the time,” Mpofu told the Daily News on Sunday.
Efforts to get a comment from Sibanda were fruitless as he was not picking up his phone
The controversial politician has been maintaining a low profile since he was deposed as ZNLWVA leader in 2014 for being discourteous to the former first family of then President Robert Mugabe.
He was then expelled from Zanu PF.
For his alleged transgressions he was arrested and hauled before the courts.
Since his withdrawal from public life, Sibanda retreated to being a full time farmer in Nyamandlovu where he has also refused to entertain journalists.