VICTORIA FALLS — ZAPU, which is deep in the throes of a financial squeeze, is equally struggling to mobilise support.
Since its revival, ZAPU has been facing a downhill journey, losing by a wide margin in the 2013 election contest and failing twice last year to raise funds to hold its elective congress.
The party is now grappling with the resignation of some of its high-profile officials.
Recently, ZAPU vice president, Emilia Mukaratirwa, resigned from the party citing issues to do with regionalism.
“The party is seen as a regional outfit and they need to work hard to give it a national appearance. Whenever I introduced myself, most members would be shocked because of my Shona name and some members would speak in Ndebele forgetting that this is a national party. You will realise that most members do not find it easy to accept that a person from Harare is a member,” Mukaratirwa told the Financial Gazette this week.
Despite its string of challenges, its leadership is still confident that the party would, through an on-going mobilisation drive, get supporters so as to establish grassroots structures ahead of the 2018 elections.
With regards to its congress, the party has no clue as yet when the indaba would be held because it is still trying to mobilise funds and members.
ZAPU is currently led by Dumiso Dabengwa, a former war-time intelligence supremo.
Dabengwa fell out of favour with ZANU-PF and expelled himself in 2008 resulting in him forming a splinter party in the form of a revived ZAPU whose origin lies in PF ZAPU, which was led by the late vice president Joshua Nkomo who, in 1987, joined forces with ZANU (PF) in a unity pact that created the current ZANU-PF party.
National spokesperson Mjobiso Noko said the party is restructuring in all provinces with a view to mobilise supporters for the congress and 2018 elections.
“We are working through different programmes in readiness for the congress. We have started a mobilisation drive in all provinces where we are restructuring,” he said, adding that they have so far done Bulawayo, Harare, Manicaland and Midlands provinces and were now in Matabeleland North and South and Mashonaland East.
He cited financial constraints as the party’s biggest challenge.
“Committees will report back to the National People’s Council (NPC) and once the resource mobilisation committee also gets something and the NPC gives the nod, then we can plan on budget and congress,” Noko said.
ZAPU provincial executive member, Themba Mlala admitted that the party was in a dire financial state.
“We didn’t go to congress because of lack of resources,” said Mlala. He also revealed that Zapu was against the current practise whereby civil servants cast their ballots ahead of the election date.
“As a party, we are against the issue of civil servants voting a week before the elections and we are going to challenge that. ZAPU should be in Cabinet in 2018 and we have already started mobilising our structures. We will be going it alone into the election without partnering anyone,” he said.
The party’s mobilisation drive in Matabeleland North took off on a low note when only 26 people attended an elective meeting held in Victoria Falls.
The meeting was meant to elect a district committee for the Hwange West area, which covers Victoria Falls town and surrounding areas that include Monde, Chisuma, Jambezi, Ndlovu, Matetsi, Lubangwe and Deka.
At the Victoria Falls meeting, members were divided on whether to continue with the election process considering that only a few people had attended.
Voting, however, went ahead with 11 members getting elected into the Hwange West district main wing while all the 10 youths present were elected into the committee.
Casper Mpofu who had been a solo party representative in the district retained the chairman’s post and will be deputised by Lovemore Ndlovu.
In the youth wing, Trust Ncube was elected chairman deputised by Honest Phiri while the only female youth who attended the meeting, Tsepile Mvundla became the secretary for administration.
Noko said the low turnout was nothing to worry about as they hoped to grow bigger going into the 2018 elections. By Malcolm Nyathi
—Additional reporting by Alois Vinga.
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