Zimbabwe: Sibanda Blasts Zanu-PF Chefs

Tough-Talking and combative war veterans' leader Jabulani Sibanda stole the limelight at the just-ended Zanu PF national people's conference held in Gweru when he launched a blistering attack on the party's so called "godfathers" for subverting the party's constitution for selfish interests.

Sibanda told delegates Zanu PF bigwigs are using money to fuel factionalism at night while claiming to be supporting President Robert Mugabe during the day.

His scathing attack received thunderous applause from delegates who believe the party's leadership has been treating the contentious issue of factionalism with kid gloves when it needed a tough stance if Zanu PF is to win critical elections scheduled for next year.

Sources said the controversial war veterans' leader openly told Mugabe that some of his close allies at the high table were using money to solicit support from the people while fuelling factionalism in the party.

"President, we want to let you know that some of our leaders who have a lot of money are buying support from the people and this is what has killed the party," Sibanda is reported to have said.

"Some of our leaders' behaviour cannot be discussed here so I am booking an appointment with you to let you know what is happening on the ground."

The delegates supported Sibanda for his fearless expose of party leaders who are on a vote-buying spree as they jostle to succeed the aging Mugabe as party leader.

Sibanda is not new to controversy as he recently told Mugabe that Zanu PF was losing support as a result of a dictatorial, lacklustre and inept party leadership failing to read the mood-swing in party strongholds.

Sibanda has been on a trailblazing campaign across the country's 10 provinces to mobilise war veterans and local chiefs to prepare and campaign for a Zanu PF victory in the forthcoming elections.

Sibanda exposed top Zanu PF leaders who often mislead Mugabe about events on the ground and the extent of the party's support.

It could also be a pointer to the divisions ripping the party apart and may affect Mugabe's bid to overturn a March 2008 presidential election first round defeat to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Close sources say Mugabe, desperate to extend his 32-year rule, has given the firebrand war veterans' leader the nod to mobilise support in the provinces as the country prepares for a make-or-break election.

The war veterans, who have often been accused of driving political violence, have come to Mugabe's rescue since 2000 when party structures began to crumble as the MDC gained popularity.

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