Jab­u­lani Sibanda de­ser­tion fears grip Joice Mu­juru’s party

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Nduduzo Tshuma

FOR­MER war vet­er­ans leader Mr Jab­u­lani Sibanda has re­port­edly snubbed party en­gage­ments in the last six months spark­ing fears that he has aban­doned the Dr Joice Mu­juru-led Zim­babwe Peo­ple First party.

Sources within ZimPF told this pa­per that Mr Sibanda has snubbed both pub­lic and pri­vate en­gage­ments in the last six months de­spite ef­forts to in­volve him in pro­grammes.

Mr Sibanda was also con­spic­u­ous by his ab­sence at Dr Mu­juru’s two meet­ings in Bu­l­awayo on Sun­day which were at­tended by se­nior lead­er­ship in­clud­ing Messers Dzika­mai Mavhaire, Ku­dak­washe Bhasik­iti and Re­tired Bri­gadier Gen­eral Agrippa Mu­tam­bara among oth­ers.

Be­fore Sun­day’s meet­ing, Dr Mu­juru had a rally in Beit­bridge which Mr Sibanda did not at­tend.

“Jabu hasn’t been at­tend­ing any meet­ings whether of the com­mit­tees or the party’s pub­lic events. There is strong feel­ing that he is no longer with us,” said a ZimPF in­sider.

The for­mer war vet­eran’s leader’s ab­sence, in­sid­ers said, had seen war vet­er­ans within the party el­e­vat­ing Re­tired Bri­gadier Gen­eral El­liot Kasu to the helm of the for­mer free­dom fight­ers’ com­mit­tee.

The war vets, ac­cord­ing to in­sid­ers, met in Gweru two weeks ago where they re­fused to vote Mr Sibanda to be their leader in ab­sen­tia.

“A meet­ing was held to set up struc­tures from the free­dom f ight e r s’ com­mit­tee presided over by Mr Ru­gare Gumbo in Gweru. Be­fore the meet­ing Mr Gumbo and Mr Didy­mus Mu­tasa were push­ing that Jabu is elected to the helm of the com­mit­tee but on the day war vets re­fused and in­stead voted Kasu to lead them,” said a source. “There is a feel­ing among col­leagues in the party that Jabu could be slowly trac­ing his foot­steps back to Zanu-PF. There is a ru­mour cir­cu­lat­ing that his house had its roof blown away by winds at his Nya­mandlovu farm and a se­nior Zanu-PF of­fi­cial as­sisted him in re­pair­ing the house.”

The ZimPF in­sid­ers said un­like the other po­si­tions which were on an in­terim ba­sis, the war vet­er­ans’ com­mit­tee is al­most per­ma­nent.

“It’s an af­fil­i­ate or­gan­i­sa­tion of the party whose struc­tures won’t be voted for at the party’s con­ven­tion. Jabu’s ab­sence from party ac­tiv­i­ties and the re­cent de­vel­op­ments among vet­er­ans al­most con­firms Jabu’s de­par­ture from the party,” said the source.

Con­tacted yes­ter­day, Mr Sibanda dis­missed the claims as non­sense.

“I won’t re­spond to non­sense, go to the farm and ask if there was any roof that was blown away. I don’t have time for non­sense,” he said curtly.

ZimPF spokesper­son Mr Jeal­ousy Mawarire said Mr Sibanda was still their mem­ber work­ing with war vet­er­ans.

He said it was not com­pul­sory for Mr Sibanda to at­tend party func­tions but a per­sonal de­ci­sion.

“The is­sue of po­lit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion is a per­sonal mat­ter. As a party, we’ve never re­ceived any com­mu­ni­ca­tion that he’s no longer part of us and as such he is still a part of us,” said Mr Mawarire.

“As to any other is­sues you raise, the best placed per­son to talk to is JB him­self.”

In an in­di­ca­tion of a fall­out with Mr Sibanda, Dr Mu­juru told fe­male mem­bers of the party in Bu­l­awayo on Sun­day that there are some war vet­er­ans who need to go back to the peo­ple and ask for for­give­ness for “the sins” they com­mit­ted in the past while they were still with Zanu-PF.

She said if those vet­er­ans do not ask for for­give­ness from the peo­ple, the peo­ple would find it hard to work with them.

ZimPF has been rocked by di­vi­sions with mem­bers jostling for po­si­tions ahead of the party’s na­tional con­ven­tion set for some­time this year.

How­ever, some mem­bers have warned that the con­ven­tion could be de­layed as Dr Mu­juru strug­gles to keep the party united.

Mr Jab­u­lani Sibanda

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