9 August 2018

Zimbabwe: Zapu Plans Leadership Change After Poll Defeat

The opposition Zapu has hinted on possible leadership renewal soon following its president, Dumiso Dabengwa's announcement he was ready to give up on active politics because of his age.

Dabengwa (79) has revealed plans to retire citing old age and that it was time he handed over the baton to party youths.

"We need young people to take this movement forward and transform it to contemporary standards. You can take it as you ably demonstrated by this conference on your own with no financial support but from yourselves. I am confident that I leave the party in capable hands of these young people gathered here," Dabengwa told the party's youths during an elective congress held in Bulawayo last year.

He has been Zapu leader since 2009 when he and a few other former PF Zapu stalwarts broke ranks with Zanu PF, citing frustrations over then President Robert Mugabe's refusal to step down and his failure to uphold the values of the 1987 Unity Accord between the two former liberation war movements.

Following the party's dismal performance during the just ended elections, the Zapu now considers a rebranding exercise which will involve the sprucing up of the party's image as well as leadership renewal.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Zapu spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa said the restructuring and rebranding exercise was in response to the feedback which the party's leadership got from the electorate during the campaign period.

"Our rebranding will involve addressing the image of the party as well as constitution of leadership structures that respond adequately to contemporary trends and needs of the electorate.

"This is in line with the feedback we got as we engaged the electorate during the just ended campaign period," said Maphosa.

He added, "The election has come and gone, but the event has been instrumental in shaping the future agenda of the mother party. We have not been successful but we drew many lessons. We have already embarked on the restructuring exercise in terms of structures."

The spokesperson maintained that despite the electoral loss, the party's ideological as well as policy agenda will not shift.

"Zapu ideological and policy agenda is here to stay despite the recent loss. Once, the people begin to interrogate party policies as espoused in campaign manifestos, Zapu will romp to victory in 2023," added Maphosa.

Maphosa said the former ZIPRA intelligence chief will likely join the party's council of elders which advises leadership.

Dabengwa supported MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa's presidential bid during the elections.

However, the party participated in both the parliamentary and council elections but failed to secure a single seat.


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