Factionalism at Zanu PF meeting

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BULAWAYO – Zanu PF divisions in Matabeleland came to the fore at a party provincial conference held this weekend in Bulawayo where several high-ranking party officials from the province were sidelined.
The one-day conference is a follow-up to the party’s national congress and is held annually to review decisions and resolutions of the national conference.
The snubbing of selected senior party officials at the meeting seemed to give credence to claims by party insiders that the internecine fighting that characterised the nomination process for the party’s second vice presidency was far from over.
The conference was attended by Zanu PF officials known to be in support of, or at least sympathisers of Zapu, while those perceived to be against the revival of the party were not invited to the meeting.
Zanu PF chairperson for Bulawayo province, Isaac Dakamela, dismissed the allegations as unfounded and explained the strange absence of some top party provincial officials as an administrative blunder at the Zanu PF offices.
“The party secretariat in Bulawayo did not send out all invitations that were meant to have been sent out and as a result some people who were meant to be at the conference were not there, this is just a blunder,” Dakamela said.
When contacted for comment yesterday secretary for youth in Zanu PF’s supreme decision-making body outside congress, Absolom Sikhosana, confirmed he was not invited to the meeting.
“I was not invited to that meeting, so I cannot comment on a meeting that I did not attend. I do not know what was discussed at the conference,” Sikhosana said.
Another Zanu PF stalwart in Matabeleland, Joshua Malinga, however, refused to comment on his exclusion from the weekend conference.
Some of those that attended the meeting included politburo members Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Angeline Masuku, Eunice Sandi, war veterans’ leader, Jabulani Sibanda and central committee member, Molly Mpofu among others.
Those sidelined include Sikhosana, Malinga, David Ndlovu and former war veterans’ leader Edison Ncube.
Sibanda’s attendance was dramatic, a source said. He walked into the conference midway through the proceedings and immediately took to the podium to blast perceived supporters of the revived Zapu.
His entry reportedly stopped proceedings as party members at the meeting broke into song while Dakamela was still addressing the gathering.
Sibanda proceeded to the podium and hit out at Zapu’s revival accusing unnamed officials from within Zanu PF of supporting the revival of Zapu.
“There is a furore over the invitations to the conference and the exclusion of senior party members,” said a party official who attended the meeting.
“It is obvious that they were not invited because they are perceived to be hardliners.”
The sources said the group against the revival of Zapu was said to be backing Vice President John Nkomo, who has come out strongly against the revival of Zapu.
Dakamela, however, dismissed the claims, saying Bulawayo province was united in as far as support for Nkomo was concerned. He said the province was the first to support Nkomo’s candidature for the vice presidency.
“Bulawayo was the first to support Nkomo’s candidature, so it is not true that this is all about divisions,” Dakamela said.