Zapu SA boils over

Police intervene amid allegations of Zanu (PF) alliance
zapu_logoJOHANNESBURG - Police were on Sunday called to bring two warring Zapu factions to order, as internal squabbling within the South African structure of the re-launched party reached fever point.

So tense was the mood that even in the presence of a group of South African police officers, unprintable profanities were exchanged and multiple fist fights nearly broke out. Since its launch in 2009, Zapu SA has hardly ever known peace. Divisions around a serious scramble for positions have become the order of the day.

After recent indications that the party had finally risen above its problems, a provincial election last month sparked a new rift that has seen the birth of a structure parallel to the one that is said to have the blessings of party President Dumiso Dabengwa, and looks likely to break the troubled party into two rival formations.

At one end of the divide is the newly-elected provincial executive committee, led by Chairman Dingilizwe Mpondo, and on the other, a rebel formation led by George Mkhwanazi, who was beaten 22-25 by Mpondo in the elections that were held here last month.

Citing alleged irregularities and accusations of election rigging, favouritism, and biased officiating by their victors, Mkhwanazi and a handful of others, most of them contestants who lost that election, immediately denounced the new structure and formed a parallel one that also claims to be representing the party.

On Sunday, the Mkhwanazi faction tried to hold a meeting at the partys Yeoville office, but was refused access to the keys by the rival structure, after which a handyman was hired to drill open the office door. This irked the Mpondo formation, which immediately called in police and the meeting was stopped from going ahead.

According to the members, the divisions are wide-ranging and largely exacerbated by the elections, which the Mkhwanazi faction has refused to recognize, claiming they were biased towards the other faction. The province is irreconcilably torn into two antagonistic factions pitting former members of Zanu (PF) who purportedly left the party in 2008 on one hand against those who had belonged to various pressure groups or other opposition parties, said Mkhwanazi on Monday.

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