By Bulawayo Correspondent
A FACTION of the newly formed Matabeleland Forum has threatened to boycott President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s meeting with traditional chiefs and civic society leaders in Bulawayo on Friday, accusing the organisers of pursuing a hidden political agenda.
The meeting is at State House in Bulawayo.
Last year in March, Mnangagwa met the region’s civil society members at the same venue under the Matabeleland Collective banner.
The meeting was being coordinated by Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) leader Jennie Williams and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, an MP and senior member of the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC.
Following the meeting, there were serious squabbles within the Matabeleland Collective, a development which resulted in a split and the subsequent formation of Matabeleland Forum.
The new group, which includes Ibhetshu Likazulu, Habukkuk Trust, Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation and Centre for Innovation and Technology, accuses the Williams-led faction of unilaterally doing things without consulting other members.
They also accused Williams of unnecessarily showering Mnangagwa with accolades during the previous meeting.
“Our organisation will definitely not be represented at Friday‘s meeting with Mnangagwa. We have got an issue with our colleagues who are trying at all costs to please Mnangagwa while ignoring pertinent issues affecting Matabeleland region,” said Mbuso Fuzwayo, Ibhetshu Likazulu Coordinator told NewZimbabwe.com.
Fuzwayo said last time they were “shocked” to hear Williams, who was chairing the meeting, describing Mnangagwa as a “listening and better President than his predecessor Robert Mugabe”.
“Before we met Mnangagwa during our last meeting, we collectively agreed on issues to raise with him. We never agreed on the issue of showering Mnangagwa with useless accolades as what happened,” said Fuzwayo.
Another representative who refused to be named for fear of victimisation also vowed not attend the meeting.
“That meeting is a useless one. Those who have organised it have sold the struggle of Matabeleland. Last year we raised issues such as devolution and underdevelopment in the region, but none of these issues have been addressed. Things are still being imposed on us,” said the member.
He cited the sacking of Ntabazinduna Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni as a flagrant disrespect of the people of Matabeleland.
Mnangagwa fired Ndiweni last year claiming that he was not a legitimate traditional chief.
When reached for comment, Centre for Innovation and Technology Director, Zenzele Ndebele refused to comment.
“Right now I am not in a position to tell whether we will be able to attend or not. Perhaps you can phone me later,” he said.