ZAPU has suspended its National Organising Secretary, Derek Katsenga, for allegedly causing chaos in party structures by disrespecting the leadership, fanning tribalism and regionalism ahead of the party’s elective congress next month.
This development comes after party structures in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South provinces petitioned its leadership to postpone the elective congress after provincial conferences last week were reportedly marred by alleged rigging, among other irregularities.
However, other provinces are insisting that the congress should go on as planned.
Reliable party sources said the chaos and irregularities emanated from the national organiser’s office who instead of carrying out his duties was openly siding with certain provinces and candidates.
Katsenga’s letter of suspension, dated March 31, 2021, signed by the party’s Secretary-General, Dr Strike Mkandla, stated that the presidency has been observing the manner in which he was carrying out his work.
The letter stated that due to his actions, the leadership was forced to institute disciplinary action against him, starting with his immediate suspension and interdiction from carrying on with his functions as ZAPU’s Secretary for Mobilisation and Organisation.
Dr Mkandla said the party’s Council of Elders would also commence a disciplinary process where he would be summoned and given an opportunity to defend himself.
Some of the charges against Katsenga are that he had associated himself with the provincial conference in Mashonaland Central after being cautioned by the secretary-general that the use of regalia from a candidate was not permissible and would nullify the process.
The secretary-general claimed the national organiser was sowing division and discord among senior party leaders in the northern region.
His acts, said the secretary general, weakened collective follow-up of party decisions and channels, “in the face of express directives” from his office.
However, some sources in the party said Katsenga’s suspension is a manifestation of smear campaigns ahead of the elections.
In a memorandum to party members, Dr Mkandla said the presidency met to deliberate on these aforementioned concerns on March 29, 2021, and tasked the National People’s Council (NPC), which is the highest decision making body in between congresses to decide on the fate of the congress.
The meeting would be held on April 10, 2021 at 10am.