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Zapu seeks Dabengwa replacement, party targets 5 000 congress delegates

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

THE opposition Zapu is set to hold its elective congress from August 27 to 29 in Bulawayo with some 5 000 delegates planned for the event.

The event will also see the party replace late former leader Dumiso Dabengwa who died in May last year.

Dabengwa died in Nairobi, Kenya on May 23 last year en-route to Zimbabwe after undergoing a month-long treatment in India. He was declared a national hero but was buried at his family graveyard in Ntabazinduna.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, party spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa said the elective congress will be held at the Bulawayo Amphitheatre.

Maphosa said despite the current economic hardships facing the country, preparations for the gathering were going on very well.

“Preparations for the congress are almost 50% complete despite the numerous challenges we are facing as a country. Our Congress will run from August 27 to 29 mid-day. We are expecting between 3 000 to 5 000 delegates, but the final number will be finalised at an appropriate time,” said Maphosa.

The party spokesperson admitted that the congress planning was causing a headache to the organising committee because of the current economic hardships facing the country.

“It’s extremely difficult to plan properly under the present circumstances where prices of basic commodities are always rising every week. The other problem is unlike other political parties who are funded by external donors, Zapu is primarily funded by its ordinary members. These members have been to a larger extent been affected by the current harsh economic environment,” said Maphosa.

Party acting president, Isaac Mabuka last year told journalists that the former liberation movement will focus on leadership renewal during its congress.

Critics have labelled Zapu an Old People’s Home because of the number of elderly people occupying leadership positions within its ranks.

Several people including the party’s incumbent Secretary General, Strike Mkandla, treasurer-general Mark Mbaiwa and Maphosa are reportedly eyeing Dabengwa‘s post.

Others also eyeing the presidency are Future Msebele, former vice president Emilia Mukaratirwa and Bulawayo transport mogul Mateo Sibanda.