THE deeply divided Zanu PF Bulawayo province is sinking slowly as party officials plan to sack over 70 top provincial members for boycotting party meetings and events.
Insiders told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that the provincial joint council met two weeks ago at Davies Hall, party headquarters in Bulawayo, where it was resolved that those who have not been attending crucial meetings and activities should be fired.
The October 10 meeting, sources said, was poorly attended with only 30 out of 110 provincial joint council members present, sparking anger from controversial chairman Isaac Dakamela.
The main functions of the provincial joint councils –– made up of provincial executive council members, provincial women’s league committee and provincial youth league committee –– are to co-ordinate the affairs of the three wings of the party within the province.
Politburo member in charge of Bulawayo, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, was two weeks ago cornered by other senior party officials, including Angeline Masuku, Tshinga Dube, Edison Ncube and Eunice Sandi-Moyo for failing to build vibrant party structures.
On August 26, only 50 out of 150 provincial coordinating committee members attended the gathering, showing deep-rooted problems bedevilling the former ruling party in the province.
The politburo and central committee members were concerned about the collapse of structures ahead of the party’s December conference in Mutare and instructed Ndlovu to ensure sanity prevails in Bulawayo.
“More than 70 people are targeted; they will be given dismissal letters anytime,” a senior party official said this week. “The provincial joint council agreed that Bulawayo should attend the conference with solid structures rather than counting on people who are not interested. Absenteeism has stalked all leagues of the party: women, youth and the main wing. It’s like people are disgruntled over the running of affairs of the party by Ndlovu.”
Dakamela has confirmed that the provincial joint council met, but denied that radical action would be taken against members accused of letting down the party.
“No one will be removed from party structures. We met of course, but we don’t intend to fire anyone,” he said.
Dakamela is expected to send the letters next week after which new members will be co-opted into the provincial executive.
A close ally of Mines minister Obert Mpofu, Dakamela was suspended in July on corruption allegations, but declined to vacate office.
The major reason for the October 10 meeting was to take an audit of structures and come up with ways to rejuvenate the party that is slowly losing significance in Bulawayo and other Matabeleland provinces, added the source.
The provincial coordinating committee which consists of politburo, central committee and provincial executive members also resolved a fortnight ago to repossess vehicles from party officials who are “inactive”.
The source said Dakamela, under Ndlovu’s orders, two weeks ago sent youth league members to take back a vehicle from a provincial executive member, Christopher Dube, who refused to part with it.
It emerged that Ndlovu instructed Dakamela to withdraw party vehicles from district coordinating committee chairpersons whom he chiefly blamed for the imminent collapse of party structures.
“There is a tussle over Zanu PF vehicles because Dakamela wants to repossess the cars while those who use the vehicles are resisting. It’s a fight over party property,” said a provincial executive member.
Dakamela denied that he was repossessing vehicles from party members. Ndlovu could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone was not reachable, but last week he denied that there was infighting in Zanu PF in Bulawayo.
Zanu PF is continuing to lose support in Bulawayo where the party failed to win a seat in the March 2008 elections. The country’s second largest city as well as Matabeleland North and South have become MDC strongholds. Both formations of the MDC enjoy support in the region.
Insiders say of late, Zanu PF is slowly losing members to the revived Zapu led by former politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa, who two years ago said, as Zapu, they were pulling out of the December 22 1987 Unity Accord, accusing President Mugabe and his top aides of sidelining former PF-Zapu members.