By Jeffrey Muvundusi and Nyasha Chingono
BULAWAYO – Zanu PF youths and members of the main wing fought raging battles which needed police intervention to quell at the party headquarters over leadership differences as intra-party violence threatens to tear the former ruling party.
Bulawayo provincial chairperson Killian Sibanda’s political future seems doomed as his short spell at the helm has come under increasing pressure from dissatisfied party members.
Sibanda took over the reins in December last year, replacing former chairperson Isaac Dakamela after beating three candidates during provincial party elections supervised by party national Commissar Webster Shamu.
Dakamela was unseated after a vote of no confidence was passed against him. Ironically his replacement is facing the same fate with less than five months in office. What transpired tells it all. Violence had taken centre stage.
Members of the youth and main wing engaged in fist fights over the weekend at the Bulawayo provincial headquarters, Davies Hall using chairs and other weapons against each other, disregarding appeals for calm from national chairperson, Simon Khaya Moyo.
The Zanu PF national chairperson failed to quell the disturbances until police in anti-riot gear were called in. During the skirmishes that are likely to unmask the façade of a united party ahead of general elections, calls for Sibanda’s ouster that triggered the spate appear deep-seated.
As harsh as it may come against him, this is the man who likened his boss President Robert Mugabe to Jesus.
“President Mugabe is like Jesus, why I say that it is because Jesus was sent by God to come and deliver us from our sins, similarly our president was sent by God to come and save the people of Zimbabwe from all the challenges we face today.
So as from today know that our president Robert Mugabe is just like Jesus,” Sibanda said at a recent rally in Makokoba. When the Daily News visited Sibanda’s offices yesterday at his workplace he reneged on his earlier promise to talk to the reporter.
Apparently, the under-fire chairperson was influenced by rowdy party members not to speak to the “paper that is imperialist funded.”
“I don’t have a story for you if it is the Daily News. You write bad things about the president. You are the paper which carried a story a few days ago that said another dictator dies, so I will not talk to you,” Sibanda said, refusing to comment on the fracas.
Some members in party regalia who were in his office apparently to caucus on the way forward in the face of trying times for the party, interjected and declared: “We have the right of protecting our boss and you will not get any comment.”
Immediately, one of them grabbed our reporter by hand before shoving him out of the door while threatening to deal with any reporters if they dare write bad things about Zanu PF. The confusion and power struggles currently taking place in Bulawayo might as well fly straight in the face of Zanu PF.
The party went to town two years ago denigrating the Tsvangira led MDC as a party of violence after incidents of intra party violence erupted in Bulawayo ahead of its congress in 2011. Through its State-controlled newspapers and ZBC, Zanu PF used the infighting to sell its manifestos.
Ironically in the same city Zanu PF is finding it difficult to put its house in order with more scenes of violence likely to be seen if words by the party youths that they want to make Bulawayo ungovernable as long as Sibanda remained at the helm are anything to go by. Daily News