Zapu says all is set for the party’s delayed elective congress which kicks off in Bulawayo on Thursday amid reports that party president Dumiso Dabengwa will be challenged for the post by current secretary general and academic Ralph Mguni based in Britain.
The congress is the second elective assembly since Zapu’s revival in 2008. The first elective congress was held in 2010 and the second one was supposed to have been held last year but was deferred due to financial constraints.
Zapu’s southern region spokesperson Iphithumile Maphosa told Studio 7 that everything is in place ahead of the congress which starts tomorrow and ends on Friday.
“We were supposed to hold this congress last August, but due to financial challenges that we faced as a party raising the requisite funds to hold the congress our national executive council requested the National People’s Council to postpone the congress by at least a year so that we could have enough time to prepare for it.
"Now we are happy that finally we are holding our congress beginning tomorrow. We have had challenges; even now we haven’t got everything we need for the congress but we are at a stage where we can hold a successful one,” he said.
Maphosa said since the congress is elective all positions are up for grabs.
Although he noted that there has not been official communication yet, Maphosa acknowledged reports that Mguni is interested in the post of party president.
“We haven’t had official confirmation yet but the lobbying that is happening points to the possibility that all posts will have more than one candidate. We are also going to have a challenge to the current president. We have had some confirmation by some members regarding the availability of Dr. (Ralph) Mguni, our current secretary general; he could challenge the president although he hasn’t officially announced his intention,” Makhosi said.
Sources say current alternate secretary general Strike Mkandla and United Kingdom spokesperson Thulani Nkala are also interested in the top post.
Dabengwa has led Zapu since breaking ranks with Zanu PF in 2008 claiming that members of the party are being marginalized by President Mugabe’s government.
South African-based businessman Dubilizwe Joli is said to be setting his eyes on the post of vice president previously held by Emilia Mukaratirwa who resigned earlier this year.
Maphosa said unlike other parties, Zapu will not simultaneously hold elections for the women and youth wings during the impending congress.
Deputy director Butler Tambo of the Centre for Public Engagement, speaking as an independent analyst, said with other opposition parties in the country talking about the importance of coalition, he expects the new Zapu leadership to be given the mandate to explore the possibility of such an alliance.
Between 3,000 and 5,000 delegates are expected at the congress.