By Bulawayo Correspondent
THE opposition Zapu party will next year hold an elective congress to find a leader who will fill the void left as a result of the death of liberation war hero Dumiso Dabengwa this year.
Dabengwa died in Nairobi, Kenya on May 23 enroute to Zimbabwe after undergoing a month-long treatment in India.
He was declared a national hero and was buried at his family graveyard in Ntabazinduna, Matabeleland North.
Addressing journalists soon after the party’s closed-door national people’s council meeting in Bulawayo on Saturday, the party‘s acting president, Isaac Mabuka said as the liberation movement approaches its congress, emphasis will be on leadership renewal.
“We are going to hold our elective congress in August next year. Preparations for the congress are going on very well. People have begun to express interest in various portfolios. The party is however emphasising on leadership renewal,” said Mabuka.
The acting Zapu president however stressed that aspiring candidates will only be allowed to campaign from April next year after the provincial congresses.
“We will only allow campaigning after the holding of provincial elections. Our fear is that if we allow campaigning now, aspiring candidates might influence the outcome of the provincial elections so that they will have an unfair advantage at the congress,” said Mabuka.
He said the party has also started mobilising resources for the congress.
“Zapu is the only party which does not have external donors. We rely solely on our individual donors. Resources are pivotal in the preparation of the congress and as such, efforts are underway to raise resources for the congress,” said Mabuka.
The Zapu interim leader said individual party members and “friends” of the party have so far pledged donations for the congress.
Mabuka also said he will not be contesting in the elections.
Several people including the party’s incumbent secretary general Strike Mkandla, treasurer general Mark Mbaiwa, and Iphithule Maphosa are reportedly eyeing party presidency.
The party’s losing candidate in the recently held Mangwe by-election, Mathew Sibanda is also reportedly interested in taking over from Dabengwa.