By NQOBANI NDLOVU
ZAPU secretary-general Strike Mnkandla is battling attempts to oust him from the post by the party’s northern province as infighting dogs the opposition party ahead of its elective congress.
Zapu’s congress initially scheduled for the end of the month has been postponed to August.
This follows threats by the Matabeleland North, Bulawayo and Matabeleland South provincial structures to boycott the congress citing rigging in provincial conferences held in Mashonaland East and Central.
Following the threats, Mnkandla nullified results of Mashonaland East and Central provincial conferences.
Mnkandla also suspended Zapu secretary for mobilisation and organisation Derek Katsenga, who presided over the two conferences.
“Instead of providing objective support to provincial processes in northern region, you have incited or been associated with denigration of party leadership and promotion of regionalism…you have sown division and discord among senior party leaders in northern region thereby weakening collective follow-up of party decisions and channels, in the face of express directives from the office of secretary-general,” Mnkandla wrote on March 31 in a letter of suspension to Katsenga.
However, Mashonaland Central and East have since passed a vote of no-confidence against Mnkandla, accusing him of “pushing aside” aspiring contestants to ensure he rigs his way to victory at the congress.
“We know you are busy making sure that you have no meaningful competitors in your quest to get elected as the party president at congress. As the Zapu secretary-general, you have not any resources (sic) for the mobilisation department for the upkeep of party structures,” Mashonaland Central chairperson Andrea Zimbango wrote.
“Your selfish approach to politics and your cabal is not working especially for us as Mashonaland Central province and we are not going to be party to decisions that will be resolved in the April 10 meeting.
“We stand with Derek Katsenga and Ruvuyi Godfrey and by suspending these cadres, you have practically suspended the structures of the province and we are prepared to go down with our gallant soldiers.”
In an interview on Friday, Mnkandla refuted the charges while insisting that he remains in his party position.
“The results were nullified because of irregularities in the way the conferences were held. However, the two provinces have chosen a route of challenging the leadership,” Mnkandla said.
“I speak on behalf of the presidency and the decision we took to nullify the process was not mine, but from the leadership. What this means is that if people decide to challenge the leadership, they automatically dismiss themselves from the party.
“This matter (defiance by Masholanad East and Central) is now being handled by the disciplinary council of elders.”
Zapu is yet to elect a substantive leader following the death of Dumiso Dabengwa in 2019.
Mnkandla, Matabeleland South provincial chairperson Matthew Sibanda, national spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa and treasurer-general Mark Mbaiwa are eyeing the presidency.
Acting president Isaac Mabuka is not contesting.