The former ZAPU Secretary General (SG), Dr Strike Mkandla, is questioning his expulsion from the party, claiming it came out of nowhere as he was not among those who took the party to court.
Dr Mkandla, on the other hand, claims he was fired because of allegations that he was planning to form and launch a new party, reports which he dismissed as “bogus intelligence, which is false and certainly not intelligent.”
On November 12, 2022, ZAPU expelled Matthew Sibanda, Ernest Ndlovu, Mildred Mkandla, Akim Nkala, and Dr Mkandla on the grounds that they had chosen a path that would harm the party.
This prompted Dr Mkandla to inquire about the specific reasons for his expulsion from the party, as no charges were presented for the expelled to either “accept or challenge” in a disciplinary committee hearing of the Council of Elders.
Dr Mkandla writes in a letter dated November 17, 2022 that while there is a history of legal action and active High Court summons in the name of some Matabeleland South senior leaders, his expulsion is a “mystery as he has not spoken or written on the 2021 Congress or those who derive power from there.”
He also mentions the ZAPU leadership suspended these litigants twice and then expelled them without a disciplinary hearing, as required by the party constitution.
Dr Mkandla’s letter, however, was not addressed to anyone in the party, according to ZAPU national spokesperson, Msongelwa Ndlovu, and thus does not merit a response.
“I don’t know what Dr Mkandla meant when he said the SG must send it to relevant persons because the SG of ZAPU is not anyone’s postboy. Dr Mkandla is a former SG, he knows what to do, he knows how to address letters if he wants to send a letter to ZAPU,” he explained in an interview with CITE.
“As far as we are concerned there is no ZAPU letter that was written by the former SG. If he is to write a letter we will respond.”
Ndlovu said Dr Mkandla was “venting his frustrations” in a letter meant for public consumption.
“We will not use official communication from the party to respond,” he said.
Nonetheless, Dr Mkandla stated no individual letters of expulsion were issued when the current SG issued a signed expulsion note on November 13, 2022, which served as a circular to all structures informing them of the expulsions.
The ZAPU spokesperson admitted there were no suspension letters because “they were expelled with dishonour.”
Dr Mkandla maintains his dismissal “came from the blue” because he was not involved in the court case or made any public criticism of the leadership.
“One clue that there is a reference to intention or planning to form a new party or to overthrow the leadership that came about because of the 2021 Congress,” he said.
“This again is culled from snippets of Nkomo’s message of Friday, 11 November 2022 and earlier ‘personal’ note from Msongelwa Ndlovu. That personal note from Msongelwa matches the reference to FROLIZI made in Nkomo’s message and the castigation of those deemed not to be loyal to ZAPU.”
Dr Mkandla stated that the expulsion was the first administrative action taken against him, aside from the request for a meeting to hand over to the new SG.
As a result of the party structures’ refusal to question and debate, the arbitrary and irregular expulsion necessitates going public, he added.
“Since the notes have been sent to all levels of ZAPU who have been instructed to stop access by expelled members to party platforms and organs. Going public is one way to obtain redress for unsubstantiated accusations and innuendoes which are circulating.”
The former SG said he would also challenge through any means available the obviously unfounded allegations of congregating in named venues for purposes of illegally overthrowing the current leadership of ZAPU, specifically Sibangilizwe Nkomo occupying the seat of President.
“Encouraging the Council of Elders to expeditiously perform their role of advising errant leadership and to conduct through their Disciplinary Committee the mandatory charging of the accused and to follow prescribed procedure,” he said, warning he may take the legal route to defend his rights as a citizen.
“The defamatory and groundless accusations tarnish my reputation and distort my long history in the movement and in professional life.
“Since the expulsion was instant and without due notice, redress through retraction in writing and publishing through party structures and platforms, from individuals and liable offices, should not take more than five working days, starting from November 17, 2022.
“In the meantime, I proceed to rebut and to avail myself to any avenues to deal with cases of distortion, disinformation and outright falsehood.”