ZANU PF must re-admit former war veterans’ chairman Jabulani Sibanda if the party wants to win elections due later this year, politburo member Victor Matemadanda said at the weekend.
“Jabulani Sibanda didn’t resign from Zanu PF but was expelled just like I was and President Mnangagwa was,” Matemadanda told a meeting of the independence war veterans at Lupane on Sunday.
“The question is; why should he be given conditions to return to the party?” he added, to applause from those who attended the meeting.
Matemadanda is also secretary general of the national war veterans’ association.
Sibanda became a pariah in the ruling party after he accused former President Robert Mugabe of planning to fire then deputy Joice Mujuru and replacing her with his wife, Grace.
Under pressure from the Mugabes, Sibanda was expelled from Zanu PF in 2014 and ousted as war veterans’ chairman.
He was also prosecuted for allegedly insulting the president after he charged that “power is not sexually transmitted” but the charges were later dropped by the State.
Mugabe was ousted by a military revolt last November and replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa who will be looking to legitimise his controversial power grab by winning elections expected to be held in July this year.
Matemadanda said the ruling party risked losing the vote if it does not re-admit Sibanda who had “proven to be a true revolutionary by not joining opposition parties” after his expulsion from Zanu PF.
“JB is a very useful material in politics and we would be lying to ourselves if we ignore that,” said Matemadanda, who is also a member of Zanu PF’s politburo.
“We can’t lose a person like him at this stage and if he goes to the opposition he will make us jump. I will soon present this to the Politburo.”
Matemadanda said the war veterans’ association was ready to “welcome back former freedom fighters who defected to other parties”.
He urged the former to take up positions in the ruling party instead of just being used as campaign tools by others in the forthcoming elections.