By NQOBANI NDLOVU
THE opposition Zapu has reaffirmed a contentious resolution barring presidential aspirants who have not been card-carrying members of the party for the past five years from contesting the presidency at its elective congress set for next month.
The congress is slated for end of October in Bulawayo.
Party insiders said the resolution was allegedly targeted at, among others, Sibangilizwe Nkomo, the son of the late Zapu founding leader Joshua Nkomo.
Nkomo has been accused by other presidential aspirants of being an inheritance hunter, adding that he was a late comer and wanted to turn the party into a “family and clan dynasty”.
On Saturday, the party’s National People’s Congress (NPC) held a meeting to deliberate on calls to drop the five-year mandatory clause for one to be eligible to contest the presidency.
A vote overseen by the party’s national council of elders saw 24 members of the NPC drawn from Bulawayo, Harare, Britain, the United States and South Africa voting in favour of the clause.
Eighteen members voted against the clause, according to an update given by Zapu secretary-general Strike Mnkandla.
Mnkandla told Southern Eye that the clause was necessary to block “omafikizolo” (Johny-come-latelies) and Zanu PF proxies from assuming the party’s reins.
“The idea is that when choosing people, we must ensure that someone does not come from Zanu PF and contest party positions. You cannot just have an open-door policy. As such, members must be paid up, must have served the party in various capacities for years and so forth,” Mnkandla, who is also eyeing the presidency, said.
“It (decision) simply says you cannot contest for the leadership when you have never served in any organ, in any district or in any capacity. This decision is not meant to penalise anybody but to ensure that aspiring leaders know where the organisation is, where it has come from and where it is going. It has to be a continuous process.”
Nkomo, who resigned in March as chairperson of both the Joshua Nkomo Cultural Movement and the Joshua Nkomo Legacy Restoration Project Trust, after entering the race for the Zapu presidency, yesterday maintained that he was qualified to contest.
“It does not affect me. I have been a card-carrying member of the party since 2010,” he said.
Other Zapu party members eyeing the presidency are spokesperson Iphithule Maphoda, Matabeleland South spokesperson Matthew Sibanda, Bernard Magugu and Mqondobanzi Magonya.
Issac Mabuka, who has been acting president since the death of Dumiso Dabengwa, opted out of the race.
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