Lockdown derails Zapu elective congress

The revised national lockdown order has once again derailed ZAPU’s plans for its elective congress set for April 2021, as the party has been forced to halt its restructuring programme.

ZAPU had been restructuring its branches and districts as part of the roadmap to the congress where a new substantive party leader will be elected.  

Isaac Mabuka is the interim leader following the death of party president Dr Dumiso Dabengwa in 2019.

However, due to the lockdown order that restricts movement, gatherings and political activity in order to contain the spread of Covid-19, the party is now exploring other means to make sure it meets its April deadline.

“The first general move is that there should be no party gatherings like physical meetings and group consultations. This will affect the ongoing restructuring of branches and districts which were to be completed this month in time for provincial conferences to prepare for congress,” said Dr Strike Mkandla, ZAPU’s Secretary-General in a memorandum sent to the party’s leadership, structures and members.

He noted that there should be full compliance with the government’s restriction of movement and gatherings except for exempted purposes.

“Even where it is possible to circumvent the controls our members should always bear in mind that the consequences are not worth it,” Mkandla said, adding that the party is exploring other available options to hold the congress on April 15.

“The party leadership will explore the options available to us to comply with the April 15, 2021, congress deadline and advise all accordingly. Practical and material requirements will all be examined and considered by the concerned structures.”

ZAPU’s secretary general said the party leadership would announce the way forward.   

“Interim steps that have to be followed will be conveyed by the leadership so that we have a programme for moving together through this period before any major review is undertaken. We should not be trapped in a culture of indefinite postponement and stagnation if there is something that can be done,” he said.

Mkandla also encouraged party members to adhere to prescribed preventative measures against the coronavirus, as everyone had a part in fighting the scourge.

“This year has started with an unprecedented situation whereby countries around the world are tightening conditions to try to contain and reverse the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. Zimbabwe has rightly joined in the global efforts to fight Covid-19,” he said.

Last year ZAPU had set August 26 to 28, 2020 as the dates for its elective congress but was forced to postpone due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Several party members including the party’s incumbent secretary general, Treasurer-General Mark Mubaiwa and prominent Bulawayo transport mogul, Mathew Sibanda were reportedly eyeing the presidency.

Incumbent party president Isaac Mabuka has said he would not contest.

The party’s congress is expected to be a showdown between the party young members versus the old guard, as the youth felt the revolutionary party needed to rebrand with vibrant leadership.

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