ZAPU and Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe (PDZ), led by United Kingdom-based Barbara Nyagomo, have merged into one and will be led by Dumiso Debengwa under the liberation party’s banner.
According to officials, all PDZ structures will now be incorporated into Zapu’s while Nyagomo will assume the unified party’s vice presidency. Lora Makuzva is the current Zapu vice president.
PDZ national organising Secretary, Brighton Makocho, said his party has decided to merge with Zapu because of its liberation struggle history.
“Zapu provides a brand that has continuity with the nationalist movement and the liberation struggle it waged. These credentials have enabled us to join hands with Zapu and work together,” said Makocho.
Makocho said the pact with Zapu is also expected to bolster the two parties powers at the negotiating table of the envisaged grand opposition coalition.
“There is strength in numbers. As we continue to negotiate for a grand coalition with other political parties, we believe that the merger will strengthen our position at the negotiating table,” added Makocho.
Zapu Secretary General, Strike Mkandla said the move to combine the two parties was motivated by the political developments which led to the ouster of former President Robert Mugabe.
“The subsequent changes in the political environment have shown the need for institutional cohesion and strong sense of direction among those seeking to provide a durable alternative in Zimbabwe,” he said.
He stressed that PDZ national leaders will not lose their positions as similar alternatives will be created for them under the new arrangement.
“PDZ president, Barbara Nyagomo, will be the vice president of the unified Zapu .The most fortunate thing is that our incumbent president, Madam Lora Makuzva, had ceased to actively participate in party affairs because of other personal commitments. As a party, we are always ready to welcome her whenever she has sorted out her issues. We will work out a plan for the two to co-exist,” said Mkandla.
Dabengwa and Nyagomo were expected to formalise the merger during a ceremony last week in Harare. Mkandla stressed that the new look Zapu will remain a member of the Coalition of Democrats (CODE).