ZAPU: a self-injured and self-endangered fraction

dumiso_dabengwa3The defection of former ZIPRA cadres from the 1987 Unity Accord-facilitated marriage of convenience with Zanu (PF) and the subsequent resuscitation of ZAPU was met with mixed reactions by people in the Matabeleland region and progressive forces all around the country. (Pictured: Dum

People tired of Zanu (PF)s continued monopolizing of the liberation struggle welcomed another version of the battle for Zimbabwe, hoping that, unlike other liberation movements, ZAPU would be progressive and democratic. Pro-democratic forces anticipated ZAPU joining other social and political movements in breaking Zanu (PF) hegemony over the country. Alas, that was not to be so as the characters behind the recreation and reinvention of ZAPU appeared to have been motivated by extremely egocentric and dubious self serving interests, as we say in Ndebele, buchitheka bugayiwe.

Events ever since the breakaway of ZAPU have revealed that, not only is ZAPU a bastardized version of Zanu (PF), but also that it is fundamentally bereft of the stamina required in order to unseat Mugabe and dislodge his regime. The faces behind the so-called revived/ reformed ZAPU are characters notorious for their ineptitude, lack of foresight and unprofessional conduct.

Fundamentally, ZAPU remains an unadulterated translated version of Zanu (PF). Its leaders still cannot afford to be genuine and sincere in their intentions, (at least to the people of Matabeleland), but remain pre-occupied by an unspecified ideology, and therefore incapable of making any impact. Careful scrutiny of the circumstances under which Dabengwa and crew extricated themselves from Zanu (PF) will reveal that the defections were not inspired by a moral realization that Mugabes party had dismally failed the people of Matabeleland, but by an unfortunate miscalculation and lack of foresight that had nothing to do with politico-economic metrics of the affairs in Matabeleland.

It is critical to unmask some of the myths that pre-occupied and later on inspired the leadership behind the reformation of the now beleaguered ZAPU. The defections were a survival strategy by politicians who had outlived their usefulness to Zanu (PF) and were on their way out. The political careers of Dabengwa and crew, having being stripped of cabinet posts and seats in the Zanu (PF) Politburo, were on the wane. The result was the reformation of a clumsy, anti-democratic establishment that is partial, inaccurate and untruthful. The newly resurrected ZAPU preyed on the victim-image of Dabengwa built around the years of incarceration he spent courtesy of Mugabe during the Gukurahundi era.

Dabengwa and crew appeared to be working on the theory that by playing victim, they would win the sympathy of many. Dabengwas already tainted image by his time of defection, together with that of other legendary failures such as Thenjiwe Lesabe, is a transcendental dilemma for the party which is a manifestation of a get together syndrome. The contribution of Dabengwa during his tenure in Zanu (PF) as the Minister of Home Affairs provides a taxonomy of his true self.

The people of Matabeleland and the country at large are well aware of Dabengwas contribution to the system of oppression as Minister of Home Affairs – a system that Zanu (PF) has since perfected and is using with brutal effect.

The intolerance of dissent, imposition of leaders and selective amnesia that characterizes Zanu (PF) has become a common occurrence in ZAPU as well. Lest people had forgotten, ZAPU before the return of Dabengwa was not dead. It existed in the hearts of many Zimbabweans and was definitely vibrant at the turn of the century with the likes of Joshua Mhambi, Jethro Mpofu, Gorden Moyo, Paul Siwela and others being a part of it. The problem with people like Dabengwa, just like Mugabe, is that they want they become a party unto themselves and this has been the banner of their misfortune and demise. Yet upon the so-called resuscitation under Dabengwa, progressive elements who were in the process of modernizing ZAPU were chased out and only bootlickers like Methuseli Moyo remained.

It is critical for those who have been following the writings of Methuseli Moyo in mainstream media of late, to unmask his persona. He can be aptly described as an injured and battered individual, with a perforated self-esteem. He worked tirelessly as editor of The Chronicle to sharpen and establish the political image of Jonathan Moyo. He is a man with a passion to please. Not surprising therefore that he was seconded by Moyo to become the Chief Executive Officer of the notorious Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBC). As the years went by, Moyos love for the young man grew cold as he began to realize that he had not only grown very ambitious, but that he had also begun adulterating Moyos name and trading on his image.

He joined the revived ZAPU where he served in the secretariat before being smuggled into the party structures at a time when ZAPU officially condemned itself into a political wilderness.

If anything is to be learnt at all from these men whose efforts have been packaged, managed, controlled, contained, and consumed (elsewhere) for ideological benefit and personal gain, it is that any attempt to annihilate civic society in Matabeleland and destroy leadership is in itself, a self defeating exercise.

ZAPU as an aspirant political entity has continuously endangered and injured itself through its resistance to reforms and the refusal by its leadership to awaken from a prolonged slumber. By itself, it is therefore a party that remains fractional, irredeemable and fictitious, a bunch of untoward individuals who have condemned themselves into a political wilderness from which there is no return.

Dumiso Dabengwa ignored a High Court order obtained by Arnold Payne in 2004 to produce audited books of the rebranded NMZWP. To this day, he has failed to account for the funds allocated to MZWT by the RBZ. This clearly exposes the fact that Dabengwa is not a transparent leader, if not a corrupt one.

ZAPU exists only in its offices and has no known community structures. I have not heard of any rallies in Bulawayo – yet the party brags of massive membership. – Nyathi is a Zimbabwean Law student at the University of Witswatersrand in Johannesburg. [email protected]

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