Battle for PF ZAPU gets nusty and it spills into the UK

The disturbances happened in Gweru city centre where four members of Zapu close to Cyril Ndebele bulldozed into a party’s national executive committee meeting and threatened to violently deal with Dr Dabengwa.

The latest development explains the on-going power struggles between Cyril Ndebele and Dumiso Dabengwa which has seen the setting up of a parrallel structure in the UK which is aligned to Cyril Ndebele. However, in the UK, bona fide party members have stuck by a democratically elected leader Dr Ralf Mguni who is conventionally aligned to Dumiso Dabengwa.

Ndebele is reported to be busy working behind scenes to remove Dabengwa in an way which has seen violent clashes among Zapu supporters themselves in Bulawayo. The report also revealed that a directive from the NEC to remove Johnson Mkandla, Treadman Moyo and Jabavu Mpofu was penned down two weeks ago but has not been actioned because Cyril Ndebele fears it might work against his skeletal structure set-up by Jabavu in Coventry while the South Africa province is now hugely aligned to Ndebele.

The media reports that while the meeting was progressing Mr Evans Ndebele, Mr Smile Dube, both from Bulawayo, Mr Fife Geza from Manicaland and Mr Malisa Bathakathi from Gweru caused a scene by refusing to leave the venue, insisting they were members of the Zapu National Executive Committee (NEC), when they were not.

Mr Ndebele, a close relative to Cyril Ndebele was the proprietor of the now defunct Zimbabwe Express Airlines while Mr Dube, a Bulawayo businessman, served for sometime as the police spokesperson for the Bulawayo Province.

The quartet reportedly caused serious disturbances that forced party members to adjourn the meeting for 30 minutes. Sources said the most disturbing thing was that the four did not show any respect for Dr Dabengwa, their leader.

The Saturday clashes are reminiscent of violent clashes that rocked the party last month at a rally at Beit Hall in Bulawayo’s Luveve suburb.

Four Zapu members were arrested in connection with the violence and are on bail.

In a statement, the party’s spokesperson Mr Methuseli Moyo said Mr Dube and accomplices were determined for violent confrontation against Dr Dabengwa and the party’s security personnel after they were asked to leave the meeting.

“Zapu NEC members were on Saturday shocked when the four men turned up at the meeting and defied appeals by interim national chairman, Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, to leave the meeting. Dr Dabengwa asked the executive if the quartet could be allowed to attend the meeting as ‘observers’, but this was unanimously rejected. Despite this, the four remained defiant and looked determined for physical confrontation with party security officers,” Mr Moyo said.

“. . . But this was not before the four made rude and intimidatory outbursts to Dr Dabengwa. One of them was heard saying ‘wena mdala uzabona. Hantsho sihamba sonke uzabona endleleni’ (You will see old man. We will deal with you on the way back to Bulawayo). Others shouted obscenities towards our interim national chairman who, however, maintained his cool and told them that they were free to do whatever they wanted.”

Mr Moyo added that the four spent most of the day waiting outside the meeting venue together with a team of journalists who apparently had been tipped to come and witness the drama.

“Our security department did not take the four’s threats on Dr Dabengwa lightly and immediately tightened security around him, particularly during the journey back to Bulawayo. So far nothing has happened to Dr Dabengwa,” he said.

“Zapu feels the four’s behaviour on Saturday, and their conduct in general of late, is meant to tarnish the good name and reputation of the party in order to destroy it. We are happy to assure our members, supporters and sympathisers that Zapu has reached a stage where no one can destroy it.”

Mr Moyo explained that Mr Ndebele used to attend NEC meetings as chairman of the Zapu Resource Mobilisation Committee until he was removed from the position on 6 July.

He said Mr Ndebele was duly informed in writing and remained just a member of the committee and has since been removed completely.

In the case of Mr Dube, Mr Moyo said he used to attend NEC meetings as chairman of the Zapu Communication and Marketing Committee.

The committee was dissolved and is in the process of being reconstituted.

“Mr Dube was aware of this and had been specifically told not to bother coming to the Gweru meeting since his committee was no longer there,” said Mr Moyo.

He revealed that Mr Bathakathi was recalled from the NEC on 12 July and could no longer attend meetings.

“Mr Bathakathi was subsequently replaced and has never attended NEC meetings since then, only to surface on Saturday to cause drama. Mr Geza was also recalled by his province, Manicaland, who accused him of absenteeism from meetings and party activities,” said Mr Moyo.

He said the Zapu interim NEC meeting discussed among other things, preparations for the party’s congress scheduled for 2010.

He said the party resolved to form a committee to prepare for the congress and each of the country’s 10 provinces will have a representative in the committee.

“The Zapu NEC also resolved to constitute a disciplinary committee to be headed by an elder. A lawyer and a party security official will be standing members of the committee. Two more members will be appointed by the NEC,” said Mr Moyo.

Yesterday, Mr Dube denied that he caused clashes in Gweru and described the allegations as nonsense.

“To me it’s nonsense because the party didn’t follow procedures. How can the chairman (Dabengwa) just dissolve my communications and media committee without consulting me? Dabengwa just phoned individuals and announced that the committee was dissolved. So we went to Gweru to seek clarification on the issue,” he said.

Mr Dube said Dr Dabengwa’s actions were unheard of and further alleged that they were banned from the meeting following the clashes that occurred in Luveve.

“We know where all this emanates from. It started with Dabengwa when he addressed a meeting at Amakhosi. The youths who attacked us at Beit Hall came from the Amakhosi meeting where Dabengwa was addressing. So the allegations that we caused violence in Gweru and being banned from the meetings is all coming from Dabengwa. We know what is happening behind the scenes,” he said.

Pressed to admit whether he was involved in the weekend disturbances, Mr Dube said Zapu’s director of communication and marketing, Mr Moyo had confirmed this as a result of instruction “from his employer Dabengwa”. (ZimDiaspora)