The former Zanu PF politburo member, Dabengwa told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday that he would contest for the presidency while his party would field candidates in all constituencies.
He said indications by Mugabe that Zimbabweans would go to the polls next year was a wake-up call to Zapu to start preparations for the elections.
Last month, the 86-year-old leader told a Zanu PF youth assembly in the capital that he wanted elections by mid next year to end the shaky inclusive government he formed with political rival Tsvangirai in February 2009. A referendum for a constitution is expected in March, followed by elections before August next year.
Mugabe blames Tsvangirai for the political logjam in resolving the Global Political Agreement (GPA) sticking points while the premier accuses the president of violating the pact by making unilateral appointments of senior officials.
Dabengwa said an election was the only solution to end the political stalemate created by Mugabe and Tsvangirai and allow Zimbabweans to choose the next government.
“We are ready to face Zanu PF and any other party because a six months notice is a reasonable period for a serious party to prepare for polls,” said the former Home Affairs minister.
Dabengwa led the revival of Zapu after pulling out from the December 22 1987 Unity Accord that was signed between PF-Zapu and Zanu PF, accusing Mugabe and his allies of marginalising the Matabeleland region.
The former Zipra intelligence supremo was elected Zapu president at the party’s inaugural congress in September.
Analysts say Zapu can grab a number of parliamentary seats, mostly in Matabeleland where MDC-T has dominated in polls in the past decade. Following the revival of Zapu, Zanu PF members left in droves to join the party.
Dabengwa said his party was an option to many Zimbabweans who were fed up with MDC-T and Zanu PF’s “confusion and fighting” that has seen the GPA outstanding issues dragging on for two years.
“We are moving in circles; our colleagues in the inclusive government have failed to implement the GPA and the only solution is fresh elections,” he said.