ZAPU secretary general Strike Mnkandla has been accused of allegedly sabotaging coalition talks with other opposition parties by vetoing the opposition party’s national executive council resolution to sign an agreement for a united front against Zanu PF.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Before the nomination court sat early this month, Zapu was involved in coalition talks with Joice Mujuru’s Peoples’ Rainbow Coalition, Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance and Elton Mangoma’s Coalition of Democrats, but nothing fruitful came out of the negotiations.
Party leader Dumiso Dabengwa recently regretted the collapse of opposition grand coalition talks, before withdrawing his candidature for the presidency to back MDC Alliance presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa.
Zapu insiders blamed Mnkandla for the collapse of the coalition talks, a charge he denied in an interview with Southern Eye on Wednesday.
“That is not true at all. I did not take any unilateral decisions that sabotaged the talks.
“It is never an individual decision, and all I did was to ensure our inputs are put together in the form of a proposal or draft but as you know the talks collapsed not because of me but because there was a fixation with the issue of positions, of who takes which position,” Mnkandla said in a telephone interview.
“In all the talks we had, we are encountering the same problem on the leadership question. As a party, we have always preferred a situation where all political parties support one candidate but it all failed because people were only interested on how leadership posts will be shared.”
However, the Southern Eye heard there was a rift between members of the Zapu national executive following the party’s failure to come up with a coalition with other opposition parties amid accusations against Mkandla for allegedly sabotaging the initiatives.
“Mkandla forced himself as leader of negotiations when he in actual fact was against Zapu joining any coalition. The SG abused his authority by vetoing the national executive resolution to form a grand coalition with other opposition parties,” party insiders said.
“Mkandla scuttled coalition talks at the very final end with MDC Alliance just before the party’s national executive sat in Gweru over the weekend on June 9.”
It is also alleged Mkandla on June 11 also refused to agree to another proposal for a coalition with the PRC whose presidential candidate is former Vice-President Joice Mujuru. Mujuru fronts the National People’s Party (NPP).
Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa when contacted said: “Negotiations and any other coalition initiatives took place at national executive and presidency level, with representatives forwarded with a clear Zapu mandate.
“We believe in the leadership and sincerity of those who negotiated on behalf of the party and we take full ownership of both the process and it’s results.”
Mnkandla has been reported to be eyeing the party’s presidency, and was at one time accused of attempting to ‘hijack’ the party by pushing for offices of the opposition movement to be housed at his house.
The proposal was rejected by his opponents who interpreted the move as an attempt to stage an ‘in-house’ coup against Dabengwa.