Dr Ralf Mguni elected ZAPU-UK chairman

Dr Mguni, a respected academic in the United Kingdom was unopposed in the provincial elections attended by more than 150 ZAPU delegates.

After the announcement of his unopposed candidacy, jubilant ZAPU delegates toyi toyed and broke into revolutionary songs sang during war-time Rhodesian by freedom fighters in Zambian and Mozambican camps. The council of elders then presented Dr Mguni as the incumbent provincial chairman, triggering off ululation, with delegates chanting party slogans.

"I present to you Ralf Mguni as the new provincial chairman. You have spoken, and any political system is expected to go by the majority. I also wish to warn you that this is not the end of problems faced by ZAPU-UK because Satan always find alternatives. I am sure there is still a lot you will face," said Mr Johnson Mkandla, a member of the council of elders.

He added: To you chairman Mguni, I hope you wont let down people who have elected you. As the former longest serving ZAPU chairman myself from 1960s, we saw some people who tried to confuse the party using Joshua Nkomo’s name. The confusion which we have seen in ZAPU-UK is not a new thing, in fact it has become a terrible ZAPU culture since inception. I have seen it all, I mean from the ANC and NDP period. All I am saying to you is that, it is your future which is at stake here, try and change this terrible culture".

Another member of the council of elders Mr Artwell Sibanda said: "I feel very proud to see so many people who are here coming to shape their destiny. I wish all the few people who were wishing us bad were here".

"These are people who know what they want and who should not be told what they want and I hope the message has been sent out," said Mr Sibanda.

There were also representatives from German who said they had been ZAPU followers since the 1970s. These German supporters pledged to support the party through "thick and thin".

Addressing delegates soon after his anointment, Dr Mguni thanked party supporters for electing him in such resounding election process which left all the contestants including losers celebrating.

"I wish to thank you for trusting me and giving this responsibility of leading you. By electing me it means I have entered into a contract to save you with my humble humility. It is a contract for you people of Zimbabwe. As chair of this province, I will role my sleaves and make sure that the past will not equal the future. Therefore, today we are all here to relaunch our party without reverse," said Dr Mguni.

"The odds that we had to work against were incredible, its been a long and steep journey. But let me tell you that we are today starting on another long journey, this time to restore credibility into our party," he said.

Dr Mguni added: "I accept the responsibility you have given me and I wish to try and reduce the misinformation that has been there between ZAPU-UK and the national executive in Bulawayo".

"I am sure that some of the things that has been said about Dabengwa are not true. We all know Dabengwa as an experienced, dedicated and respectable politician who has been a ZAPU cadre from his youth in the 1960s"

"I will therefore streamline on who should communicate with the national executive rather having anyone calling Dabengwa. You know very well that aspect has been the biggest problem within ZAPU-UK," he said.

Dr Mguni urged all ZAPU district chairpersons to go back to their constituencies and identify what he described as ZAPU talent.

"We make a pledge that each chair has got to go back to its own district and look for skills that could be utilised by ZAPU. My ambition is that ZAPU should reduce the dependence syndrome by having the pride of doing things in our own," he said.

The eloquent speaking and well polished academic, also praised ZAPU delegates for conducting peaceful and transparent elections "under difficult circumstances".

"Apart from electing me as your chair, you have also set a precedence that should be used as a template on conducting democratic and transparent elections," he said.

A transparent box was used for voting president over by four members of the council of elders. Vetting of candidates and delegates in line with the party’s laid down procedures was also enforced.

Ms Regina Gwebu beat Ms Nomazulu Thatha by three votes to take the women’s chair. Innocent Dube grabbed 39 votes beating Barnabas Masinyane and Njabulo Maphosa to be crowed provincial organising secretary.

Thamsanqa Zhou got 57 votes for secretary of Administration beating Artwel Ndlovu who got 20. For the vice chair, Nkosana Mthimkhuli got 55 votes beating Irvin Moyo (absentia) 3 and Bongani Mhlophe (19).

Zenzo Ncube was elected unopposed as publicity secretary while maverick and professional accountant Zwe Ncube was also unopposed for the position of treasurer. Mrs Masinyane was voted for organising secretary for women while Bruce Moyo won the organising secretary for the youth. Innocent Ndibale beat Menzi Dube and Nkosinathi Ndibale to head the youth section.