ZAPU’s National People’s Council (NPC) is yet to meet and decide if the party can still go ahead with its elective congress slated for August or postpone it in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The party was gearing up for a watershed elective congress this year to elect a new leadership to steer the party forward following the death of party president Dr Dumiso Dabengwa in May last year.
This would have been the party’s third elective congress since ZAPU pulled out of the Unity Accord with Zanu PF in 2009.
But the country is under an indefinite Level 2 stage of the national lockdown, where gatherings of more than 50 people are not permitted.
In an interview, incumbent ZAPU president, Isaac Mabuka said the congress was a crucial event for the party, which was why deliberations were needed to come up with a practical solution, especially during the coronavirus period.
“The NPC is yet to sit and decide what is to become of the congress, as this depends on the COVID-19 pandemic. Some countries are coming to a realisation that we may have to live with the virus and are slowly opening up their economies.
“Countries such as South Africa and the United Kingdom are talking about opening schools though with precautions. This shows us at some point we have to live with the virus. As ZAPU, we want to work within dictates of regulations and not harm our people, which is why the party is yet to meet,” he said.
Mabuka noted such an ‘important’ decision on the fate of the elective congress lay with the NPC.
“We are not sure when the NPC will meet as it has to be done under the ambit of the law. But whatever decision the NPC makes, it will be reflective of the people and prevailing situation – whether that includes postposing for months or going ahead,” he said.
The incumbent leader admitted the global pandemic had posed ‘real problems’, as some party members had indicated that preparations should have started already.
“Some of the candidates who are running said they would have wanted to start with their campaigns and having people warm up to them but such uncertainty happens in the face of a pandemic. The NPC has to agree the way forward whether to postpone or carry on, after taking it account all the scenarios,” Mabuka said.