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ZAPU congress votes to withdraw from Zanu PF

REVIVAL: Dumiso Dabengwa addresses ZAPU congress in Bulawayo on Saturday, May 16, 2009
REVIVAL: Dumiso Dabengwa addresses ZAPU congress in Bulawayo on Saturday, May 16, 2009


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Posted to the web: 18/05/2009 04:39:22
A CONGRESS of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) on Saturday officially completed the pull-out from a 1987 unity accord with Zanu PF, while retaining Dumiso Dabengwa as the interim leader.

ZAPU gave up its name in the pact with the Zimbabwe African National Union to form the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front.

Senior ZAPU figures, led by Dabengwa, announced in September last year that they were pulling out of the agreement because the party’s supporters “had suffered a lot of disadvantages since we went into that unity accord… a lot of ideas that we had when we fought for the independence of this country have not been realised.”

The congress, attended by delegates from the country's 10 provinces, South Africa and Botswana resolved that former ZAPU members who choose to remain in Zanu PF cease to represent the interests of ZAPU.

Dabengwa said: “The re-emergence of ZAPU and its extrication from the unity accord of 1987 is informed by the noble agenda which seeks to renew the Zimbabwe dream through rebuilding infrastructure, providing economic stewardship, building democratic institutions and respect for the rule of law, devolution of power, human rights and civil liberties.”

He said ZAPU would restore “respectable nationhood” where the people were “the pivot around which proper, able and accountable leadership is elected”.

President Robert Mugabe has reacted with fury to the ZAPU pull-out, insisting that the accord is still intact and seeking to cast Dabengwa as a disgruntled rebel.

Dabengwa said the main driver of the decision to join ranks with Mugabe’s party was a desire to end a five-year brutal crackdown on ZAPU supporters and its leader Joshua Nkomo by a special army unit set up by Mugabe which is blamed for over 20,000 civilian deaths.

The revived party is set to collide with Mugabe’s party after resolving to reclaim its properties confiscated by the government.

Meanwhile, prominent Bulawayo lawyer Steven Nkiwane will lead a committee to draw up a new constitution for the party.

SUPPORT: ZAPU supporters at the party's first congress after the pull-out from Zanu PF
SUPPORT: ZAPU supporters at the party's first congress after the pull-out from Zanu PF

Leaders of the revived ZAPU have been sensitive to accusations the party is a tribal outfit, and Dabengwa said there would be no room for tribalists.

Canciwell Nziramasanga, his deputy in the interim leadership, called for “vigorous national mobilisation” and the establishment of structures across the country.

The congress ran under the theme "Restoring the Nation for a Better Future for All".
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