via ZAPU says no sense of loss within party over ‘defections’ | SW Radio Africa by Nomalanga Moyo on Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Senior ZAPU officials have dismissed as a non-event and ‘over-dramatised’ claims that hundreds of its members had defected to ZANU PF over the weekend.
On Monday the state-run Chronicle newspaper claimed that 200 people, led by Tryphine Nhliziyo and Effort Nkomo, had dumped ZAPU for failing to award them benefits while they were members.
In a bid to drum up attention for the event ZANU PF dispatched a high-powered team made up of the party’s Matebeleland leadership, to welcome the defectors.
During a ‘home-coming ceremony’ held at Amakhosi Cultural Centre, the defectors told ZANU PF bigwigs, who included Simon Khaya Moyo, that they had been misled into joining ZAPU in the first place.
“National chairman, there are many people out there who want to come home. The people have grievances. We did a lot for ZAPU but in the end we got nothing,” Nhliziyo said in an address to Khaya Moyo.
Nhliziyo added: “We want to benefit from the land and we want projects. We are not digging graves but we want to be recognised and be given assistance from the Government. Bulawayo must be revived.”
Since the news of the defections surfaced, senior ZAPU officials have said some of the so-called defectors had renounced their party membership as far back as 2010.
ZAPU coordinator for the southern region Mark Mbayiwa said it was also not true that 200 people had left or that Nkomo and Nhliziyo were still active in the party.
Mbayiwa said they have since asked for a list of names to enable the party to verify that the alleged 200 defectors were indeed from ZAPU “but they (ZANU PF) have failed to do so because they know it’s not true”.
According to the official, Nhliziyo and Nkomo were flip-floppers who had rejoined ZAPU on the same pretext that they had been misled into joining ZANU PF.
“Nhliziyo was part of the discussions when ZAPU was being revived and said the same things they are saying now – that they were misled into joining ZANU PF in 1987 when the Unity Accord was signed.
“If the MDC had won this election, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the two had used the same story to join that party.
“As ZAPU we feel no sense of loss that the two have left, although it would help if they gave the real reasons for their leaving and when they actually left,” Mbayiwa said.
Mbayiwa said the defection was a non-event as the party had known for some time that Nhliziyo and Nkomo were planning to go back to ZANU PF.
He said it was however unfortunate that the two were using unfounded allegations to justify their desperation to jump on to the ZANU PF gravy train.
Addressing Nhliziyo’s plea for land and assistance from ZANU PF, Mbayiwa said: “They were members of ZANU PF for more than 20 years before rejoining ZAPU and got nothing. If they didn’t give them anything then, what makes them think this time around they will get something?
“Their problem is that they join parties for the wrong reasons. ZAPU does not buy support or entice members with promises of material benefits. Those who join us do so because they believe in what we stand for,” Mbayiwa added.
Another party official Strike Mnkandla said ZAPU, which pulled out of the Unity Accord with ZANU PF in 2008, would not be distracted by the propaganda.