ZANU PF national chairman John Nkomo last weekend failed to persuade ex-PF Zapu members from breaking away from the ruling party.
Nkomo was tasked by the politburo to convene a meeting in Bulawayo last Saturday and convince the former Zapu members from splitting from Zanu PF, but the indaba failed to bear fruit.
During the Saturday meeting, Nkomo also failed to make public a report of an inquiry into circumstances that led to the convening of a meeting at White City Stadium three weeks ago by party “rebels” who intended to announce the split from Zanu PF and the revival of Zapu.
While Nkomo was presiding over a meeting at Davies Hall, Zanu PF’s Bulawayo headquarters, former Zapu members were holding their own at Stanley Square strategising on how to repossess property the late vice-president Joshua Nkomo-led party used to own in the early 1980s. The government subsequently confiscated the property.
A fortnight ago Zanu PF appointed a three-member commission of inquiry to assess the state of the party in Bulawayo where rebels said they wanted to revive Zapu because government was neglecting them.
The probe team was made up of deputy politburo secretary for women’s affairs Eunice Sandi, and central committee members Callistus Ndlovu and Abednigo Nyathi.
The three produced a report which they presented to the party a week ago.
Nkomo was on Saturday expected to discuss the report with the party members but did not table it even in closed meetings with politburo and central committee members.
In his public address Nkomo sounded defiant and warned that Zanu PF has faced a similar rebellion before, but always emerged stronger.
“This is not the first time that Zanu PF has faced such a crisis and each time it underwent the trying times, it emerged stronger,” Nkomo said. “There is need for unity in the party. We have to leave a firm legacy so that when we are gone those remaining will always look up to us.”
However, Zanu PF sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that the report presented by the probe team revealed that the entire Matabeleland leadership was backing the pullout from Zanu PF.
“The report presented to Nkomo was explicit that former PF Zapu leaders were supporting the idea of a pullout and it was necessary for Nkomo to first consult Mugabe before making the findings public,” said one of the sources.
The sources said in the closed meeting Nkomo implored Zanu PF members in the region not to join the PF Zapu group, which has said it would hold a convention in December before a party congress to choose its leadership early next year.
Information and Publicity minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, however, said Nkomo was still studying the report.
“The report was not presented to the party members because the national chairman (Nkomo) is still studying the report and it will be presented to members through party structures,” Ndlovu said.
Already six members of the party’s Bulawayo provincial executive have left Zanu PF. The six include Effort Nkomo (secretary for information and publicity), Andrew
Ndlovu (secretary for security) and Tryphine Nhliziyo (secretary for administration).
Former Zanu PF politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa is one of the coordinators of the revived Zapu.
Meanwhile, members of the revived PF Zapu on Saturday resolved that government should return property it seized from the party and have since reconstituted the board of Nitram – a company that used to run the party business.
Former Zipra commander John Gazi is now the chairman of the Nitram board.
PF Zapu members have also split from the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association and have since formed their own Zipra Veterans Association led by Colonel Ray Ncube.
The revived PF Zapu members have threatened to evict the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) from Magnet House in Bulawayo, a building they said was owned by the party.
Former war veterans leader Andrew Ndlovu, one of the leading figures in PF Zapu’s revival two weeks ago told a meeting that they intend to take Magnet House back from the CIO.
By Loughty Dube