Residents’ associations in Bulawayo are divided over plans by Zanu PF to use them to spearhead an anti-sanctions campaign in the city by drawing up a petition which the former ruling party wants signed by at least 700 000 people.
The Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (Bupra) said it would not take part in the exercise while the Bulawayo United Residents’ Association (Bura) could not commit itself saying it would “cross the bridge when we get there”.
Bupra coordinator Rodrick Fayayo said the sanctions were targeted at senior Zanu PF officials for alleged human rights abuses.
“We will never take part in this ludicrous adventure precisely because our thinking is that the targeted sanctions on these people by the West are because of their human rights abuses,” he said.
“Zanu PF has actually imposed sanctions on Zimbabweans that is why people do not have jobs and are arrested every time they hold meetings.
“Let them remove the sanctions against ordinary Zimbabweans first before they talk about targeted sanctions imposed on them. Zanu PF is responsible for gross human rights violations especially on the people of this region.
“They cannot talk to us about sanctions yet they continue to make people suffer.”
However, Bura chairman Winos Dube said they would decide whether to participate or not if or when Zanu PF approached them.
“I have not heard that yet,” Dube said.
“No one has approached us as an association. Normally political issues should be addressed politically while civil issues are solved by civic organisations.
“Civic organisations have freedom of affiliation but you do not use it to pursue a political agenda. Since it is said war veterans will be used and are independent of the party then we will see.”
When pressed to say whether they would take part in the campaign, Dube said: “We will not talk about something that has not come. We will see when the time comes.”
Zanu PF has set up an anti-sanctions committee headed by war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda.
The committee was set up in Masvingo early this month at a meeting chaired by Acting President John Nkomo and attended by ministers Didymus Mutasa and Emmerson Mnangagwa, provincial party chairpersons as well as chairpersons of the youth and women’s leagues.
According to party insiders, the committee, a brainchild of the party’s national commissar who is also the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu, would be made up of war veterans and the party’s commissariat members.
On Sunday, Zanu PF Bulawayo province resolved to use the city’s residents’ associations to further the anti-sanctions campaign.