BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
SIBANGILIZWE Nkomo, the son of the late vice president Joshua Nkomo, is buoyed by his victory in a Zapu Matabeleland South provincial election to fill the vacant post of party president, saying this is proof that he is the ‘people’s choice.’
Nkomo emerged victorious in the provincial conference held on Saturday after bagging 68 votes against fellow presidential contestants Strike Mnkandla, the current secretary general who received 17 votes, Matabeleland South chairperson Matthew Sibanda (24 votes) and United Kingdom-based Sithembiso Mpofu (12 votes).
Zapu is holding provincial conferences to elect their preferred candidates and provincial executives ahead of its elective congress scheduled for August this year.
However, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who doubles up as Health and Child Care minister, re-imposed lockdown restrictions last week following a spike in Covid-19 cases, forcing the opposition party to postpone the provincial conferences.
Nkomo, who invited brickbats from rivals after announcing his candidature for presidency, said his victory as a preferred presidential candidate in Matabeleland had boosted his confidence that he will grab the presidency in August.
“It is not only a personal victory, but a win for the people who love Zapu and have Zapu’s interests at heart,” Nkomo said.
“This victory shows that the people know and understand the direction that Zapu should take.
“They understand and have confidence in me that Zapu will be in safe hands under me, and that I will revive it.
“However, it does not mean that those that lost are our enemies, but colleagues that also have the interest of Zapu at heart.
“This victory has also boosted my confidence that I will be crowned Zapu president at the end of the day.”
Nkomo in March resigned from both the Joshua Nkomo Cultural Movement and the Joshua Nkomo Legacy Restoration Project Trust where he was chairperson of the two organisations after he entered the race for the presidency.
However, rivals have accused him of being an inheritance hunter as they dismiss him of wanting to turn the party into a family and clan dynasty.
“We can’t then have inheritance hunters coming up in March 2021 to claim so and so told them to rescue the party after 40 years. We are not a family or clan dynasty,” Iphithule Maphosa, the party spokesperson who is also eyeing the presidency said recently.
The late Nkomo was the leader of PF Zapu. In 1987, Nkomo’s PF Zapu signed a Unity Accord with Zanu to ostensibly bring an end to Gukurahundi.
In 2008, the late Dumiso Dabengwa led a number of ex PF Zapu officials in a breaking away from Zanu PF to relaunch their party.
Dabengwa led the re-birthed Zapu till he passed away in May 2019.