ZANU PF Bulawayo province has been thrown into fresh turmoil after four candidates vying for the provincial chairperson’s post were disqualified over the weekend as some senior party members pushed for the incumbent Callistus Ndlovu to be retained unopposed.
According to party insiders, members of the party’s central committee from Bulawayo disqualified Killian Sibanda, Simon Khabo, Joseph Tshuma and Douglas Ndlovu for various reasons and recommended that Ndlovu be retained.
“The members of the central committee initially met on Wednesday and hatched a plan to disqualify all candidates. They met again on Saturday before the provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) and resolved to disqualify all the candidates that had submitted their CVs,” a party source told Southern Eye.
“(Zanu PF politburo member and Bulawayo provincial political head) Sikhanyiso Ndlovu presented the resolution to disqualify the candidates to the PCC. It seems that the central committee members forget that it is not their mandate to block candidates as the programme is handled by the commissariat department,” the source said.
The party insiders said senior members wanted to protect their positions in the central committee.
“The seniors want to pursue selfish ends. They want a fellow central committee member who will ensure that they don’t lose their positions in the elections next year. The circular was clear that those who have served the party for more than five years were eligible to contest for the post of provincial chairperson,” the party insider said.
“The problem with our elders, particularly in Bulawayo, is that they want to cling onto positions and always block fresh blood that could help revive the party. Unfortunately in Bulawayo, the seniors are only concerned about their own selfish interests and not that of the party.”
However, a senior party member from the province who spoke to Southern Eye on condition of anonymity said they wanted to restore dignity within the party.
“There is a feeling among senior party members that Callistus Ndlovu should continue as he has worked hard to bring sanity to the fractious party structures since his appointment by the politburo. It won’t make any sense to replace a professor like Ndlovu with a Grade 7. It will take the party backwards,” said the senior party member.
“We want to end the politics of beer and extortions in Bulawayo that have caused problems in the party. Some of those candidates were disqualified because it is known that they lead factions. Some claim to have transferred from other provinces, but the transfer letters are not there.”
Contacted for comment, Ndlovu yesterday said the central committee members were part of the provincial structures and could not make any decision alone.
“Whoever said that does not know the party structures. The central committee and politburo are national organs. The members in provinces form part of the provincial structure. They serve to correct and recommend but decisions are made as a province,” he said.
“Any aggrieved person should follow laid down procedures where aggrieved persons can air their grievances and not take them to the Press. This is an important process that should be treated with the seriousness it deserves.”
Ndlovu said a report had been sent to the Zanu PF headquarters and would not be discussed until it is seen by the commissariat department and politburo.
The CVs for aspiring contestants were reportedly sent yesterday following intervention by the Zanu PF headquarters.