We are not looking for partnerships but building the party: ZAPU

ZAPU’s new leadership says its focus is on rebuilding party structures and is not looking for alliances nor is it interested in joining the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) for dialogue.

The mother party claimed it had been abused by the ruling Zanu-PF party and did not see a need to engage it rather it was switching to campaign mode.

Addressing the press at the party’s offices in Bulawayo Monday, ZAPU leader, Sibangilizwe Nkomo said his team was now seized with the job of rebuilding a strong party.

“We want to build ZAPU to a level that has never been seen before. We are not looking for partnerships at this early stage. We are going to build our party first to great strengths then we can start talking. We are not talking to anybody right now,” he said.

“But obviously there’s always dialogue, in a nation there will always be dialogues. We cannot avoid that but for now we are not partnering and not looking for partners. Rather we are not looking to get into POLAD. I’m the first one to say that we are not going to POLAD or any other alliance at this point.”

Nkomo indicated that party members had placed their faith in the new leadership for the purposes of rebuilding, restructuring and rebranding the party, as part of preparations for the upcoming 2023 national elections. 

“I declare my dedication and commitment in leading from the front, the mass mobilisation drive and campaign from the congress going forward. Never again will ZAPU participate in elections for the sake of participating. ZAPU will from now onwards participate in all elections with one and one aim only –victory,” said the new leader.

 “When I accepted the call to contest for this position, I was aware of the challenges that we face as a party starting from the need to establish legitimate and authentic branches all over the country and also the need to raise adequate resources for the party to compete successfully in all the elections that will be held freely and fairly in the country.”

The ZAPU president said it was their aim to even mobilise members of other political parties to their movement.

“It is imperative to distinguish the difference between an enemy and a rival. In Zimbabwe today we have political rivals but not enemies because as ZAPU our aim is to mobilise even members of other political parties to come and find a comfortable political home in our movement. This also means that in our branches we should have a warm heart to practise an open door policy for people to freely join the movement. That should not blind us from identifying infiltration strategies applied by our political rivals,” Nkomo noted.

He added: “We are now switching to the campaign mode and we all know that we need to immediately embark on a resources mobilisation exercise which will run simultaneously with the mass mobilisation exercise. Our old friends from the pre-independence era shall be visited with immediate effect to revive the needed relationship and new friendships shall be cultivated and forged in order to make sure that we are also able to bring containers of ZAPU regalia from abroad for the campaign. That therefore means the leadership must be organised and presentable to the international community.”

Nkomo also noted that since the top five ZAPU leadership has no female leader, the party would take affirmative steps to include them in other key positions.

“What you see is a result of western democracy and not necessarily our liking, so democracy (congress voting) has delivered this but we will work hard, use affirmative action and other means to incorporate and include women. Women are very important and we are going to include them in positions and other jobs,” he said.

ZAPU secretary general, Mthulisi Hanana, added that as part of its mobilisation drive, the new team led by Nkomo will go province by province meeting people, which is the major focus and not entering into coalitions.

“We are not looking for partnerships. ZAPU, has had an abusive relationship with Zanu as a party as early as 1963 when they left. So I don’t think there’s anything new that we have not tried in terms of engagement that will be interesting. We are not interested in meeting (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa, we will meet him at the ballot,” he said.

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