By Barnabas Masimba – Leader of the revived Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (Zapu) Dumiso Dabengwa has admitted that his party is going through turbulent times, financially.
So ugly is the situation that the party has turned to its supporters to pay monthly member subscriptions to save it from a possible collapse.
This follows a last month’s Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Ndou ruling ordering the eviction of the opposition party from the offices it was renting and auctioning of its property to recover the debt.
The closure of Zapu national headquarters in Bulawayo followed, as the Messenger of Court descended on them over a $15 000 debt owed to Edson Chemhere Mabudapasi, the owner of the premises.
Despite reports of the former revolutionary party having breathed a sigh of relief after they sold a herd of 14 cattle to save the situation, the party seems to have remained mired in the financial doldrums.
Dabengwa reportedly told his party supporters at Magwegwe Hall recently during a function organised by the party Youth Front to commemorate all fallen Zipra-Zapu heroes that things were not well in the party.
“I am appealing to you to pay your monthly subscriptions because as a party we survive on them. You need to look after your party as we used to do during the time of Joshua Nkomo where our party used to survive on 10c monthly subscription and it used to be very strong.
“I have even appealed to our Secretary General who is overseas whom I have also tasked to source funds for us and fortunately he has promised us something,” he added.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the event which was also attended by Sibangilizwe son to the late veteran nationalist Joshua Nkomo, Dabengwa confirmed that his part was financially handicapped.
“Subscriptions haven’t been coming through in a manner they would have come that is why we are trying to have our members pay their subscriptions in a proper way that is going to assist us in running our affairs,” Dabengwa said.
Concerning the closure of party offices the former Zipra intelligence supremo said: “Meanwhile we got an alternative, a small place just to operate from as we are still looking for money to pay our debt.
After we finish paying we can as well renegotiate with the owner of the building such that maybe we can go back.
“The issue has affected us especially on our communication where some people are even calling me on issues that could have been handled by the secretariat”
Dabengwa further said lack of resources was hampering the party’s visibility in the country.
“People are complaining about the visibility of the party and it’s not easy. We need to have the resources we need the money we need transport to go out there, which is our challenge” saidDabengwa who pulled out of the unity accord in 2009 citing Zanu PF’s insincerity and marginalization of Nkomo’s former strongholds.
The party has been struggling to stay afloat in the political scene despite a promising re-start which saw them hosting a congress in 2010 that had over 5000 delegates drawn from all walks of life.
But as fate would have it, the party seems to be losing grip by each passing day. Meanwhile, turning to the issue of the Copac draft Constitution, Dabengwa said his party was still making consultations within its ranks so as to come with a position.
He dismissed the Zanu PF amended draft constitution describing it as “out of order and people should not waste their time on it.”
“I have never read the so called amended draft and I don’t want to do so and I will never do so because it is out of order,” the Zapu leader said.
Led by the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo, ZAPU was trapped to sign a unity agreement in 1987 by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF following years of political strife in Matabeleland and the Midlands Provinces where more than 20,000 people.