The Sunday News
MATTER OF FACT
In our story headlined “Skirmishes as Zapu presidency fight rages on” we erroneously used a wrong picture of Mr Matthew Sibanda, who is a businessman based in Harare. The picture that was intended for use was for Zapu Matabeleland South chairperson, who also goes by the name Mr Matthew Sibanda. We sincerely apologise for the error and any convenience caused is sincerely regretted. – Editor
Rutendo Nyeve, Sunday News Reporter
THERE were skirmishes at the opposition Zapu party offices in Bulawayo yesterday when suspended party members staged a demonstration after they were barred from attending a National Executive meeting.
Long-serving Matabeleland South chairperson Mr Matthew Sibanda together with five others were allegedly suspended by the party after they challenged the candidature and election of the late Vice-President Dr Joshua Nkomo’s son, Sibangilizwe into the party’s presidency.
Zapu held its elective congress last year in October with six candidates jostling for the party’s top post. The elective congress was meant to elect new leadership following the death of the party president and national hero, Dr Dumiso Dabengwa. Sibangilizwe Nkomo, former secretary-general Mr Strike Mnkandla, Mr Matthew Sibanda and United Kingdom-based Ms Sithembiso Mpofu together with Mr Bernard Magugu and former treasurer-general Mr Mark Mbaiwa (now late) battled for the party presidency.
While Mr Sibangalizwe Nkomo was elected as the president, Mr Sibanda argued that he was not a party member hence they staged a demonstration at the party offices.
“I was the Zapu Matabeleland South chairperson for two terms which means that is 10 years. As I served in this position, I never saw Sibangilizwe and Mthulisi Hanana who is now said to be the secretary-general as members of Zapu. What I know is that Hanana came through the Botswana chapter which also did not have a structure but had seven members only as it was under my province. So, we brought them in as observers. So Sibangilizwe was given the so-called automatic entry because he is Joshua Nkomo’s son while Hanana was given entry because he came from Botswana.
“During the campaigns towards the elective congress, we challenged his candidature at the courts arguing that he did not qualify. When we got to court we, however, had a consensus as Zapu members that we need to go and deliberate internally so that we do not embarrass ourselves. After numerous attempts to engage failed we then retained the matter to the courts. We were then suspended by Hanana which is contrary to our constitution which stipulates that one is suspended by a council of elders,” said Mr Sibanda.
When the Sunday News crew got to the party offices, police officers had reacted to the scene with three party members having been arrested and put inside a police vehicle. The national executive members were locked inside the offices with the national secretary for security Andrew Ndlovu standing guard and liaising with police details. The Sunday News crew managed to talk to Mr Hanana who described the skirmishes as unfortunate but however, a sign of internal democracy. — @nyeve14