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We will lose elections: Zanu PF

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Senior Zanu PF officials in Matabeleland have warned recent remarks by Vice-President John Nkomo that the long-standing grievance that the region was marginalised had no basis but was, in fact, being used as an excuse for laziness could cost the party in the next elections.

Nkomo made the remarks last week after a tour of the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport, whose refurbishment has taken more than nine years to complete.

He said: “Can’t we consign this term and put it in history? Who do you want to do the job for you and who is marginalising you?

“It is just inertia and dragging your feet. This is your country and the resources are yours. If you are called upon to do work, you should not drag your feet.

Consign it and say Bulawayo is being challenged. Some say ah, kunzima ko (it’s hard in) Bulawayo. You are short of ideas and because you don’t consult others who have ideas, you say ah, kunzima (it’s difficult).”

However, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday declined to comment on the matter, saying: “You want me to comment on what the Vice-President has said? It has not been debated so it would be difficult for me to comment. Unless it has been debated, I cannot make a comment.”

Zanu PF politburo member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu yesterday chose to downplay the fissures, declaring: “We are united in working for the development of the region. Recently, we held a meeting to discuss development and quite a number of projects have been lined up. You should also write about the development of the region.”

But, several senior Zanu PF officials who refused to be named said the remarks had riled party supporters and had the potential of further alienating it from the masses.

In 2008, Zanu PF won four seats in Matabeleland North, four in Matabeleland South and none in Bulawayo Metropolitan Province.

The region has 37 House of Assembly seats.
The other eight were won by MDC-N and the rest by MDC-T.

“Nkomo is working alone and not with anyone from the party. If you noticed lately, he has been donating stuff to schools and no members of the party were informed. He is doing it alone,” said one senior Zanu PF member.

“He is just wandering into the bush alone. After all, credit for those donations, if at all, will go to himself and not the party.”

Another Zanu PF politburo member said Nkomo’s statements were “going to haunt him for the rest of his political life”.

“The people are going to hate him for those statements. They will never forget what he said about them. If he ever entertained standing for a parliamentary seat in the next elections, then those ambitions have suffered a huge blow,” said the politburo member.

During a Zanu PF politburo meeting sometime last year, President Robert Mugabe reportedly said all senior party officials should take part in the country’s next elections.

Nkomo, who is Zanu PF vice-president and a businessman with interests in Matabeleland, is a non-constituency MP who found his way into Parliament courtesy of President Mugabe’s generosity.

“No one has the guts to confront Nkomo about the matter so they pretend everything is OK in his presence, but when he turns his back they start condemning the statements,” said another insider.

“Most frustrated are those who still have parliamentary seats who are angry that the likes of Nkomo are busy making reckless statements because they have given up on contesting in polls.”

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