By Dumisani Nyoni
Bulawayo, August 29, 2016 – ORDINARY Zapu followers have expressed mixed feelings over their leader Dumiso Dabengwa’s retaining of his party’s presidency.
Dabengwa retained his post uncontested at the party’s 8th congress held in Bulawayo at the weekend where the party also gave him the leeway to appoint five technocrats to the Zapu national executive council to strengthen and improve the party’s visibility, particularly in the rural areas.
He is deputised by Laura Makuzva.
Other executive council members include Isaac Mabuka (national chairperson), Jacob Dube (national treasurer), Strike Mkandla (secretary-general), Mjobisa Noko (deputy secretary-general), Tawanda Majoni (spokesperson) and Iphithule Maphosa (deputy spokesperson).
Derrick Katsenga was elected organising secretary and is deputised by Ndodana Moyo and Orchard Nyathi.
However, party members who were not party to the congress in Bulawayo expressed mixed feelings over the 76-year-old former Home Affairs minister’s re-election, with some saying he should have given up power to younger politicians within the party while others saying he has a role fulfil.
“I think Dabengwa should have passed the baton to others given his age. That was going to save the party from another electoral embarrassment,” said one resident who identified himself as Nkosilathi Ndebele.
Other party members said there was nothing wrong with the former ZIPRA intelligence chief retaining the party’s presidency as it was constitutionally.
“Zapu’s constitution allows Dabengwa to run for two terms. Therefore, there is nothing wrong about what happened given that his term ends in 2018. He himself indicated that he will not seek another term in 2018. To me, Dabengwa is the best candidate to campaign for 2018 elections,” Ntokozo Vuma said.
Dabengwa in the 2013 harmonised elections only managed to garner 0,74% on the national vote while his party also failed to win a single parliamentary seat.
It was the first ever presidential race he has participated in since he joined nationalist politics which finally deposed the colonial white government back in 1980.