ZAPU leader Dumiso Dabengwa and the party’s secretary-general Strike Mkandla have reportedly clashed over control of the secretariat and party organs, amid claims that the latter was positioning himself to take over the presidency at the next congress in 2020.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
Party sources yesterday told Southern Eye that Mkandla was “unilaterally trying to change the party secretariat” to influence his takeover bid and had, for a long time, been at loggerheads with a Zapu faction opposed to his ascension to the president’s post.
They added that Mkandla recently advertised all secretariat positions without advising the executive.
“When he was confronted, he sought to justify his actions by claiming that he wanted the staff to sign new contracts. It is, however, clear that Mkandla has lined up people to take over the posts, this coming hot on the dubious appointment of the new regional coordinator, Gezekile Mkwebu,” a Zapu insider, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
“The current employees at regional offices have been on open-running contracts for periods ranging between three and nine years, which he wishes to unilaterally terminate against the party decision to only fill vacant posts.
“Mkandla wants to give new two-year contracts, itself a ploy to have a new secretariat by the time for the next congress since the contracts will expire one year before the end of tenure for the current administration, giving him another chance to still have his chosen puppets in the secretariat by congress 2020,” another party insider said.
Mkandla could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone went unanswered as Zapu deputy spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa refused to talk about the issue.
“It’s purely an administrative issue. Our SG (secretary-general) is the best placed to respond to your questions,” Maphosa said.
At one point, Mkandla was accused of trying to relocate the party offices to his house after Zapu fell into rental arrears at its rented premises in Bulawayo’s central business district.
Mkandla at the time defended the move, saying it was a cost-cutting measure.