SW Radio Africa (London)

25 July 2012

Zimbabwe: ZAPU's Dabengwa Claims Makoni Was a ZANU-PF Election Plot

A sinister ZANU PF plot to split votes and ensure that the 2008 Presidential election had no outright winner has been alleged by ZAPU leader Dumiso Dabengwa, who was once a cabinet minister and politburo member.

Dabengwa said he walked away from ZANU PF in 2008, along with several other ZAPU officials, because they did not approve of the violence and murders that followed Robert Mugabe's loss to MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai.

But critics have said that Dabengwa left ZANU PF because of 'sour grapes' and having no political future in the party.

Regarding the elections, Dabengwa claimed that Simba Makoni's party, Mavambo-Kusile Dawn (MKD), was started by individuals in ZANU PF in a plot to prevent Tsvangirai, as well as Mugabe, from getting an outright victory.

The ZAPU leader alleged that the plot was arranged after Mugabe refused to stand aside and allow a younger candidate to take over, insisting on running for another term. He said other ZANU PF chefs, including the late Army General Solomon Mujuru, were involved in the plot.

Dabengwa is quoted as saying: "Our idea was to make sure there was no winner and we succeeded in doing that. Our thinking at that time was if there is no winner, at the facilitation stage people would come together to an indaba and be able to discuss what is the way".

SW Radio Africa's Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saumgweme said the consensus on the ground in Matabeleland is that Makoni was indeed a ZANU PF creation that was meant to split votes. But at the time many people believed he was sincerely opposed to Robert Mugabe.

"During the campaign Makoni came here to White City stadium and I remember he told people that Mugabe was an old octogenarian leader who needed to be replaced. People trusted him and thought he was genuine but he was a project of the ZANU PF politburo," Saungweme explained.

He added that the trust in Makoni at the time was reflected in the fact that he won in some constituencies in Bulawayo and other regions of Matabeleland.

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