BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
THE opposition Zapu has resolved to retire its entire old guard from top leadership positions to allow for the party’s renewal and rebranding exercise following a string of election losses since its revival over 10 years ago, Southern Eye learnt.
Acting president Isaac Mabuka is leading the party’s renewal and rebranding process.
Zapu has been performing badly in the past elections, and party sources said a renewal and rebranding exercise, starting with the retiring of the old guard, was necessary.
Zapu southern region spokesperson Patrick Ndlovu confirmed the development last week.
“His (Mabuka) mandate is to organise congress and to carry out the renewal and rebranding resolution of our national people’s council (NPC),” Ndlovu said.
“Party members, especially the younger members, felt that the average age of our leadership was too high. New blood is needed at the top to bring in new ideas. The current scenario of having them as deputies was not bearing fruit as the blending was felt to be cosmetic rather than practical, hence the party needed new blood at the top.”
The NPC is Zapu’s highest decision-making organ in between congresses.
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Mabuka was endorsed as acting president until the party’s 2020 congress following the death of party president Dumiso Dabengwa in May.
Dabengwa passed away aged 79 in Nairobi, Kenya, on his way back home from India, where he had gone for medical treatment for a liver ailment.
Dabengwa was declared a national hero and laid to rest at his eManxeleni rural home in Ntabazinduna, Matabeleland North province.
Ndlovu said Zapu’s old guard would be redeployed to the party’s council of elders to guide the party’s ideological and policy agenda, among others.
“While the party is proud and cognisant of its national revolutionary background, the party also needs to rebrand and make itself more relevant to the electorate. We could not rely on a proud history to carry us forward. Dabengwa had been tasked with those two resolutions before his death,” he said.
“We have a council of elders, we also have our NPC which, like the Senate, needs mature and experienced people to guide and develop policy for the party. It’s not retirement but redeployment to streamline party operations.”
Zapu has been struggling to woo votes even in its purpoted stronghold in Matabeleland province since 2008 when it broke ranks with Zanu PF.