ZAPU leader, Dumiso Dabengwa, has blasted the Bulawayo City Council over its refusal to rename Barbourfields Stadium after his liberation war colleague and fellow post-independence political prisoner, the late Lookout Masuku.
By KHANYILE MLOTSHWA
“The proposed renaming of Barbourfields as Lookout Masuku is a very brilliant idea,” he said.
“I was approached on this matter and I welcomed it. But unfortunately, the council that we now have in Bulawayo leaves a lot to be desired.
“The administration side (of the council) may be good, but the policy making part is questionable. We made a huge mistake voting some of these people to be city fathers. I am sure we have now learnt our lesson.”
The local authority shot down a proposal to rename one of the city’s most iconic structures after Masuku, whose liberation war role has all but been airbrushed out of history.
In an unrelated matter, Dabengwa told delegates at a public meeting organised by the Public Policy Research Institute of Zimbabwe on Wednesday that “rigging of elections” in Zimbabwe was not a myth, but, reality.
“From my experience, as (a former) Home Affairs minister, there were questions around postal votes. The minister (of Home Affairs) had nothing to do with the elections, as it was always under the Registrar-General’s Office,” he said.
“The Registrar-General reported to the President’s Office. The administration of postal votes, from the police and the military, has always left a lot to be desired.
“The other rigging mechanism has been around the voters’ roll. We took the voters’ roll and studied it closely and realised that each constituency was prejudiced of between 5 000 and 8 000 votes. We went to Makokoba and proved that some voters were registered three times. Same name, same date of birth, maybe different ID numbers, but same address.”
Dabengwa narrated the challenges around building a coalition amongst opposition parties.
“My first encounter with the issue of coalitions was when I went to the Soviet Union and was told of how the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) built a coalition with workers, who were not in their party, to defeat the bourgeoisie,” he said.
“They all agreed on one thing, that it was important for workers to work together.
“Even our liberation struggle, right back into the first resistance testifies to coalition building. Right from the time white men came to our country, from Gadade (battle) through Pupu (battle) when the Ndebele warriors were crushed.
“You can think of that time when the Mashonganyika regiment from Mashonaland came to join the Ndebele. This all testifies to people coming together, not as politicians, but as communities. This carried on into our liberation struggle.”
Dabengwa spoke about the hardships experienced in efforts to build a coalition during the liberation struggle.
“What we want now is a coalition that will empower the suffering masses of Zimbabwe. We want a coalition that will not only wrest power from Zanu PF, but will go beyond that and build a beautiful country for everyone,” he said.