THE inclusion of former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda in the opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) party’s top leadership has reportedly stirred controversy, with some Bulawayo party members saying they were uncomfortable with his alleged past human rights abuses.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU/SILAS NKALA
According to the latest report produced by the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), some ZimPF members claimed Sibanda committed heinous crimes while in Zanu PF and should not hold a top post in the opposition party.
“Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) party, which was making inroads in the province, was rocked by infighting, as some members were objecting to war veteran and former Zanu PF mobiliser, Jabulani Sibanda’s influence, saying he was a perpetrator of gross human rights violations,” the organisation said in its April 2016 report.
“Yet, others were resisting the inclusion of former MDC-T members, saying they were not to be trusted, as they changed parties frequently.
“On April 9, 2016, at a meeting at the Small City Hall in Bulawayo Central constituency, one Max Mnkandla and other ZimPF members complained that Jabulani Sibanda should not be part of the party’s leadership structures in
ZimPF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and Sibanda denied the claims in separate interviews yesterday.
“It’s the first time I’m hearing hear such. I have addressed meetings organised by other parties and I have not heard people saying Sibanda should not be a guest speaker because of some alleged past,” the firebrand former war veterans leader said.
Gumbo said: “I have not received any reports of that nature. That is not true. Actually, the party is seized with its mobilisation activities. We have made huge inroads and we are quite happy about the support that we now command in Matabeleland.”
Meanwhile, ZimPF’s Bulawayo interim provincial working committee has resolved its differences after members last month reportedly passed a no-confidence vote in provincial co-ordinator, Esnath Bulayani, accusing her of misconduct and continued disregard of the opposition party’s constitution.
A party insider, who declined to be named, said the provincial leadership held a crisis meeting on Monday and agreed to work together.
ZimPF provincial interim spokesperson, Geniva Sibanda confirmed the development, saying: “In every home, particularly a big family such as this one, there is bound to be minor misunderstandings here and there, and as a family, you sit down and frankly sort out some differences, if any. A meeting was held and everything went well in that meeting. We are working hard in our wards more than ever before as one family.”
Sibanda said all the problems, which had arisen in Bulawayo, were sorted out and the party was working towards strengthening its structures in the city.
The problems in Bulawayo came as some sections of the party were already demanding leadership renewal in Mujuru’s yet-to-be-officially launched party.
Last week, a group of disgruntled party youths besieged Mujuru’s Chisipite home, where they accused top party executives of creating a buffer between the party leader and the general membership.