ZAPU leadership has given the late vice president Joshua Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo’s son, Sibangilizwe (Pictured) the green light to contest the party’s presidential elections.
Zapu will be holding its hybrid elective congress from the 29th to the 30th of this month at the Bulawayo Amphitheatre.
Sibangilizwe ‘s bid to assume the shoes of his late father had been thrown into disarray following a recent decision by the party’s National People’s Council (NPC) ‘s decision to bar members with less than five years in the party from contesting leadership positions.
On September 11, the NPC held a meeting where some party members requested a waiver on the party’s Constitution which requires that presidential aspirants should at least have five years while those eyeing national executive committee positions should have been at least three years as party members.
Following the request, the party’s acting president Isaac Mabuka called for a special virtual meeting on the18th of September where members were asked to vote on the five-year membership requirement.
A total number of 24 people voted for the maintenance of the status quo while 18 people voted for the abolishment of the clause.
The move has however affected Sibangilizwe whose membership status was being questioned by some members.
In an interview, the party’s Acting president Isaac Mabuka confirmed that Sibangilizwe has been cleared to contest the elections.
“Sibangilizwe’s Kezi branch has confirmed that he joined the party in 2010 although he was not active in party activities. Now that his membership status has been confirmed, he is now eligible to contest the elections,” said Mabuka.
However, the Acting President said there are some members who are still of the view that Sibangilizwe is a newcomer in the party and therefore should be disqualified,” said Mabuka.
Four candidates including Sibangilizwe have already secured nominations for the party’s top post.
Mabuka said preparations for the congress are still in progress.
“You know, unlike other parties which are donor-funded, Zapu is solely funded by its supporters. We have asked each province to raise funds for the upkeep of its delegates during the duration of the congress,” said Mabuka.
He also revealed that some provinces are likely to attend the congress virtually due to the COVID 19 prevention regulations.
The congress has been postponed several times due to COVID-19.
Congress will elect a new leader following the death of the party’s president Dumiso Dabengwa three years ago.
Several other candidates including Mkhandla, prominent Bulawayo transport Mogul Mathew Sibanda and the party’s incumbent Treasurer -General Mark Mbaiwa are also interested in taking over from Dabengwa. Mabuka is however not contesting.