Mugabe in desperate bid to stop ZAPU breaking away, sends John Nkomo

BULAWAYO – After celebrating the split of the MDC in October 2005, ZANU PF is staring deep into its own impending split after disgruntled members from ZAPU announced they were breaking away. The 2 parties came together under a unity accord in 1987 but since then senior ZAPU members feel their authority and relevance has been undermined by current political developments.

The group says their members are being sidelined in important decisions and they cite the manner in which the inter-party talks between the MDC and ZANU PF have been conducted as an example. Last weekend the leaders of the group declared the unity accord ‘dead and buried.’

Former Home Affairs Minister Dumiso Dabengwa, war veterans’ leader Andrew Ndlovu, Tryphine Nhliziyo the ZANU PF secretary for administration for Bulawayo Province, and publicity secretary Effort Nkomo among others are leading the rebellion.

In a desperate bid to stop the rebels breaking away, ZANU PF on Wednesday assigned National Chairman John Nkomo to meet the disgruntled members. But as our correspondent Lionel Saungweme reports, Nkomo is a poor choice for mediator and does not command the respect of his ZAPU colleagues who view him as having completely sold out to ZANU PF.

Saungweme told Newsreel the rebels initially invited Vice President Joseph Msika to their meeting, not because they wanted him to lead the party as reported. Instead they wanted Msika, the most senior former ZAPU member to hear their grievances.

A ZAPU statement confirmed that a meeting, ‘convened on 8 November 2008 at Stanley Square, Bulawayo, resolved that the political structures of ZAPU cease to operate under the title ZANU PF, and to resume the title ZAPU, and that all party structures operate under the authority of the constitution of ZAPU.’ District councils will prepare and convene a consultative conference in December in order to mobilise and restructure the party for a congress by March 2009.

Newsreel also understands the rebels have said ZANU PF does not have the right to investigate their breaking away from the party. “We are not slaves to ZANU PF,” one member declared, telling our correspondent, ‘the 1987 unity accord was a voluntary arrangement and they have every right to walk out of it if they felt it was no longer serving its purpose.’ Another official blasted the unity accord as, ‘a mere surrender document signed by the late nationalist Joshua Nkomo.’ After years of acrimony between ZAPU and ZANU PF, Nkomo and Mugabe signed a unity deal that merged the 2 parties into ZANU PF.
Over 20 000 people in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces were butchered to death in state sponsored attacks most commonly referred to as the Gukurahundi Massacres.