Zanu PF divisions deepen

BULAWAYO - Divisions in the revived Zapu party appear to have deepened, with former party provincial chairman Ray Ncube claiming his forced departure worsened the miseries that have become synonymous with a party founded by the late vice president Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo.

Nkomo’s liberation war intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa now leads the fractured Zapu.

Ncube, a veteran Zipra war veteran who worked in the Zimbabwe National Army for 23 years, was sacked from the revived party late last year on allegations of clandestinely trying to form a parallel structure.

Ever since Zapu walked out of the “marriage of inconvenience” with Zanu PF in 2008, financial problems and internal squabbles have threatened to push the party to the precipice.

In a wide ranging interview with the Daily News this week, Ncube claims he is still a “Zapu hard-core cadre”.

He says he was instrumental in the revival of the party that for years had been eclipsed by Zanu PF under the auspices of the 1987 Unity Accord and remains “a vital cog”.

He said his usefulness was confirmed when one problem after another continued to bedevil the political organisation following his departure.

“Since I left the party, serious divisions emerged which are still visible today. The party provincial structures weakened, more people had to be suspended and some have now abandoned Zapu,” said Ncube.

“This has affected the support base of the party because when I was dismissed unceremoniously I had people who sympathised with me who obviously supported me. We had a regional and provincial office which I personally opened. They have all but shut down which also proves how mismanagement has crept into the party,” he said.

“When I was expelled, a day before the party’s provincial council sat to decide my fate and the party’s legal advisor Nkiwane asked all the 42 delegates to vote for or against the decision to sack me.

Surprisingly, almost everybody voted against the decision. To prove that some people really wanted me out of the system, the leadership still went ahead to write a letter of my dismissal,” Ncube said.

Ncube, who has worked in several European and African countries under the United Nations peacekeeping missions, said although he is no longer active in the Zapu structures, he will never recognise the dismissal.

“You would realise that all the pioneers of this revived party have been removed and now most of them are just mere observers. I bet if you see any pioneer revivalist who is still with Zapu right now bring him to me. There is nobody,” he claimed.

In a bid to cement his claims, Ncube narrated to the Daily News how in 2008 former Zapu members met as a group of concerned civic groups that later led to the revival of Zapu.

This was followed by their first conference, which was supposed to be addressed by the late vice president and former senior Zapu cadre, Joseph Msika.

Msika failed to turn up for unknown reasons, but that did not stop the idea, said Ncube.

On all the events that took place prior to the rebirth of Zapu, Dabengwa was “not in any way part of it”, Ncube said, suggesting that he was only later invited to be the leader.

Dabengwa has openly admitted this at various fora.

“And I can assure you right now that supporters are there but they have also lost interest due to the confusion going on which I also don’t understand. So much damage has been done to the party that used to be a giant figure in Zimbabwean politics,” said Ncube.

Ncube could not be drawn into giving any opinion on the future of the party that shocked all and sundry when it held its first star national congress in Bulawayo in 2010 to mark the final nail in its pull out from Zanu PF.

The event, which was attended by over 5 000 delegates from within and outside the country, was held amidst pomp and feasting with 15 beasts being slaughtered.

While Zapu has since then been like a sinking Titanic ever since its remarkable comeback, Ncube remains optimistic.

“Zapu does not belong to an individual. It belongs to the people and I strongly believe one day the people will take charge. They cannot at all cost watch their dream go down the drain,” he declared.

Ncube said as a politician he felt that he could not fold his hands and watch Zapu being torn apart hence his idea to come up with an influential trust.

“Because of our nature as perpetual political animals, we cannot remain idle as long as there are political challenges. That is why we sought to establish a platform to manage goings-on at Zapu hence we formed Friends of Zapu Trust on February 7 whose objective among others is to provide moral and non-lethal material support for Zapu. On registering with the Deeds office, Ncube took the Notarial Deed of Trust of Friends of Zapu to Dabengwa who “naturally” did not buy the idea.

As if to prove how the initiative had touched him, Dabengwa, nicknamed the Black Russian during the liberation war, immediately organised to meet with journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club where he sought to debunk the Ncube baby.

He dismissed the organisation, arguing it was a parallel structure to Zapu which was covertly registered with equally clandestine motives among others.

Ncube rejects the allegations: “We are not parallel to anyone. In the first place we are not a political party and we are just a Trust like any other. I am happy to say we have been well-received throughout the country and so far we have done consultations here in Bulawayo, Midlands, Insiza and Tsholotsho.”

Asked how his relationship with his former boss since his expulsion Ncube calmly said: “We are not on talking terms. From the day I was expelled from the party we have not met except when I went to present my document on the Trust.”

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