ZAPU has insisted on Dumiso Dabengwa standing as the opposition party’s presidential candidate in the 2018 elections, despite the former Home Affairs minister’s refusal to stand, citing old age.
Source: Zapu to field Dabengwa in 2018 polls – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 26, 2017
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Dabengwa, who turned 77 last month, told delegates at Zapu’s congress last year that he was not interested in contesting the presidential election, revealing he was also planning to quit active politics in 2019 because of old age.
Zapu deputy national spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa, said the opposition party respected its leaders’ wishes, but insisted that the former government minister will stand as a presidential candidate.
Maphosa said accepting Dabengwa’s refusal to stand as a presidential candidate will be betrayal of the thousands of party members, who re-elected him to that post during the party’s congress.
“Inasmuch as we have at the back of our minds the wish expressed by president Dabengwa to retire, we ought to remember that Dabengwa did not offer or voluntarily avail himself to lead the party, but, was, instead approached by the party members, and after he agreed to serve, he had his work as president cut out for him,” he said
“While the party respects individual and personal wishes of its members, it is at the end of day up to Zapu, whether to grant the president his wish or not, depending on how far he has gone with his mandate and cut out duties, especially considering the hardships the party is undergoing and the kind of leadership such requires.”
Maphosa said Zapu will consider other presidential aspirants, although indicating Dabengwa “topped the list”.
“So, in a nutshell, we are considering a presidential candidate, also an alternative if need be, but Dabengwa tops our list of presidential considerations until and unless the party structures, who just renewed his mandate at last congress are willing to let go of him,” he said.
“We, however, are not short of choices from within the party, but rest assured that, as any other serious movement, Zapu will give Zimbabweans the best choice of president to take the country out of the mess created by Zanu PF under (President Robert)Mugabe’s presidency.”