ZAPU yesterday launched its July 31 election manifesto at Stanley Square in Bulawayo where MDC leader Welshman Ncube was a key speaker.
REPORT BY SILAS NKALA
MDC and Zapu on Friday sealed an election pact that will see the two parties helping each other during the harmonised polls.
Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa said his party was ready to take over power and the forthcoming polls provided a perfect platform.
“Since our revival, the so-called political commentators and the media have tried to discount us,” he said. “Even Baba Jukwa [a faceless Facebook character] is saying we are 1%,” he said.
“We are here to launch our manifesto. Zapu is there to fight for people’s will, which means under Zapu people must not be afraid to express concern in local authorities and government.”
Dabengwa said Zapu members had been pushing for a coalition with the MDC.
“According to what we agreed on, Zapu will support and vote for MDC candidates in constituencies where Zapu has no candidates and the same with the MDC,” he said.
“We have vowed not to leave each other, me and Welshman Ncube and I told him that if he does so, I will deal with him and if I do leave him, he must deal with me.”
Dabengwa said they also agreed that they would not have any other coalition with other parties without first agreeing as an alliance.
“If there are some who want to join us, they are free to do so. For instance MDC- T and Mavambo/Kusile/ Dawn are welcome if they want to join us,” he said.
But Dabengwa revealed that he would not withdraw from the presidential race to support Ncube’s candidature.
“People did not want me to step down even though I wanted to do so,” he said.
“So we agreed with MDC that whenever one of us wins and does not have an outright win prompting a runoff, the party of the one who lost will back the winner.”
He said Zapu had 40 parliamentary candidates in the southern region and six in the northern region.
On the other hand, MDC has about 200 parliamentary candidates across the country and this means that Zapu will back over 100 MDC candidates in the elections.
“In Bulawayo we have discussed with our candidates to see if they can step down for MDC candidates but most of them said they were prepared to contest and only one Rodger Muhlwa of Bulawayo said he respects the MDC candidate for Bulawayo East David Coltart and stepped down for him,” said Dabengwa.
Ncube told the same gathering that his party shard the same values and principles with Zapu such as devolution.
“We know we got independence but we are still not free,” he said. “We remain in bondage in the prison called Zimbabwe. In this election, we must free ourselves.”