7 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Zapu to Contest in Polls

Dabengwa revived ZAPU in 2009 after a brief flirtation with Simba Makoni's Mavam-bo/Kusile/Dawn in the controversial 2008 harmonised polls.

Despite the fact that the party is currently operating from the streets following its eviction in August from its headquarters in Bulawayo over non-payment of rentals, ZAPU has rolled-out election campaigns in and around Matabeleland ahead of fresh polls set for next year.

Last week, the ZAPU leadership, which owes its landlord about US$15 000, was in Gwanda, Matabeleland South, canvassing for votes.

The party is currently broke and surviving on the generosity of well-wishers.

Recently, Bulawayo High Court Judge, Justice Nicholas Ndou, ordered the auctioning of the party's property to recover monies owed to its landlord.

But addressing a handful of supporters during a campaign rally at Imbizo Business Centre in Gwanda South on Saturday, ZAPU national organising secretary, Solomon Nhamo, said his party would contest next year's ballot "without fail."

"ZAPU is going to contest the elections without fail; ZAPU is taking the 2013 elections as part of stocktaking," he said.

He told supporters to vote for people who participated in Zimbabwe's war of liberation.

"You should vote for a candidate who will fulfil what the war veterans promised during the fight for majority rule," said Nhamo.

He further urged ZAPU supporters to maintain peace during elections.

"If you are forced to attend rallies of other (political) parties please don't refuse to attend and if you are forced to shout their slogans, please shout.

"If you are given food or clothes please take them but avoid violence.

"At the end of the day remember your vote is your secret," he added.

ZANU-PF, which has been in government for over 30 years since independence, stands accused of forcing people to attend its rallies during election time. ZAPU vice president, Emilia Mukaratirwa, blamed the poor attendance at the rally to what she said was the absence of freedom of assembly and expression and fear of victimisation.

She said she was opposed to President Robert Mugabe's recent remarks that the Global Political Agreement (GPA) principals would have a final say on the new constitution expected to pave way for next year's elections.

"I am pained by the draft constitution. If it then becomes an affair of only three people (GPA principals) what does it mean?" she questioned.

"Do you see the mistake in our country? The three think that parties outside GPA are useless. Let's challenge this issue; you have to come up in the open without fear," she added.

Meanwhile, other political parties have begun positioning themselves in Matabeleland ahead of the elections with weekend rallies being held on Saturdays and Sundays.

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