ZAPU power struggles escalates

BULAWAYO – The revival of ZAPU by former Home Affairs Minister Dumiso Dabengwa is struggling to take shape as power struggles rock the party amid reports of bitter infighting which have spilled into its branches in the Diaspora.

At the centre of the power struggles are two centres of power, one led by Dabengwa who anointed himself party President at a disputed congress and the other faction led by former Speaker to the Parliament Cyril Ndebele.

The two rival factions have caused so much damage in the rank and file resulting in bad blood amongst party faithful.

Every member vying for a party position has been labelled Zanu PF or MDC agent and this has caused deep rooted problems rendering the party’s activities none existent.

This week, a website linked to the party’s functionary has exposed the level of internal party skulduggery as members take pop shots at each resulting in the alleged dismissal of the United Kingdom party chairman.

The website reported that ZAPU-UK chairman Arthur Molife was suspended by senior party officials with immediate effect, less than three months after he was elected into office.

"Molife was informed yesterday afternoon of his suspension following intervention by ZAPU leadership in Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom.

In line with the party’s constitution Council of Elders chairman Brian Muvirimi served Molife with his suspension after two weeks of dramatic developments that saw the Legal Affairs Secretary Lloyd Msipa tendering his resignation from his position," the report said.

The outspoken Lloyd Msipa is the son of Zanu PF stalwart and former cabinet Minister and Governor of midlands Cephas Msipa.

The cocky London based lawyer has recently been on the fore-front of below-the-belt media attacks on the MDC-T, writing obituaries on Tsvangirai’s political career.

Also on the receiving end was the self proclaimed Iron Lady Manchester based Barbara Nyagomo who was recruited into ZAPU through Facebook.

There have been heated "in-your-face" cat-fights between Mr Molife and his vice-chair Barbara Nyagomo, with the former accusing the later of being an MDC agent.

So far the website revealed that: the party’s national leadership has refused to accept Msipa’s resignations following confrontation with Molife.

"All executive decisions made by Molife during his short-lived tenure are now null and void", the report said.

"The leader of the Council of Elders in the European province Mr Brian Muvirimi has temporarily taken over the party’s chairmanship in line with the ZAPU’s constitution."

Dabengwa is being accused of turning the so-called Council of Elders or Kitchen Cabinet into Zanu PF’s communist styled Politburo.

The Council of Elders has been used to expel party elements perceived to be harbouring leadership ambitions.

This morning, a party functionary linked to Mr. Molife has dismissed the claims of his suspension and accused Msipa and his Facebook sidekick Barbara Nyagomo of working to destroy the party in the interests their principles in Zanu PF and the MDC.

"According to insiders, ZAPU leadership had attempted behind the scene to tame Molife, but they say, he could not take any advice from his superiors opting to listen to his powerless confidantes," the report in the website said.

"The Zim Diaspora exclusively understands that the party’s national leadership has suggested abolishing the executive provincial committee in the UK, instead replace it with an administrative one which would be directly answerable to the national leadership. This would give the leadership ability to intervene at any stage as opposed to a situation of an executive province."

"It is understood the measure is to minimise problems that had blighted the province since Milton Keynes."

"However, insiders say Molife authored his own misery as it has also been revealed that several certain senior party officials attempted to advise him on how to handle the volatile situation. They say Molife was extremely arrogant and resorted to antagonising those who questioned his clumsy leadership style."

"He had set up factions against those who disagree with him and had literally antagonised them with many party officials. He would call individual officials in the PEC including others and spend time demonise people who are supposed to be his team," an insider said.

"If there were any disciplinary issues the party constitution is clear on that. It’s not up to him Molife, not even the PEC to start disciplining off-rails members, which is the work of the Council of Elders. We reserve the constitutional right to intervene and suspend a chairman who after being voted into office decides to be hot-headed. For Molife to try to be a disciplinarian was a grave breach of the constitution among other things. At the end we had no choice but to relieve him of party duties as his approach was not helpful to ZAPU."

"As a result, Molife leaves a deeply divided province, in which he had successfully mobilised many individuals to his short-sighted cause," the report said.

However, The Zimbabwe Mail understand that the bitter infighting in the ZAPU UK branch is caused by factions in Bulawayo and they’re also linked to the long standing problem that affected MDC-UK – control of party subscription funds from the members.