SPEECH delivered by Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa at the official opening of the party’s new Bulawayo offices:
In this city Zapu has been working from different places since we ceased operating from just around the corner because of viability problems.
This is another way of saying we could not afford the levels of rent on that property because we did not have a steady source of revenue.
During the 2013 harmonised elections we fielded candidates in nearly a quarter of constituencies nationally while using different points for processing and supporting registration of candidates and facilitating their campaigns.
We got valuable experience in that campaign, essentially a reconnaissance mission, which was the first since we revived Zapu in 2009 and had a congress in 2010.
There is no doubt that our work would have been easier and more co-ordinated if we had centres in Harare and Bulawayo for our northern and southern region activities respectively.
Today we are inaugurating these offices in Bulawayo as part of our drive to streamline our work.
In this city one of the most frequently answered questions when Zapu meets its supporters and sympathisers is, “iZapu itholakala ngaphi?” (Where can we find Zapu?).
This will now be easy to answer instead of referring people to our structures around the city.
This office will help those who come from other provinces in the southern region who wish to make enquiries and get materials for their provinces.
This office will serve as a regional office covering Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Masvingo, the Midlands and South Africa provinces.
It is the second of three such offices. The Diaspora region has set up its office, and we are working on getting the third office in the northern region in Harare.
Zapu does not have access to official funds like those represented in Parliament, nor does it have deep pockets lined up with donor funds.
This difficult position means we have to rely on our members and supporters and not just make cosmetic statements about being anchored on the people.
This is why it has taken some time to raise enough funds to open these offices in Bulawayo.
The harsh economic climate in the country makes it almost impossible for our members to pay monthly subscriptions.
The party appreciates sacrifices made by members, supporters and friends in raising funds for this office: Deposit, the rentals and renovations before the staff moved in.
It has been an uplifting experience to see the amount of unpaid work and supplies that have complemented what owners allowed to be used against rentals.
Professionals gave services at subeconomic cost to the party; a rent fund got contributions and commitments beyond what we expected in these hard conditions locally and from members abroad; individuals gave and continue to provide services from their resources and skills.
These contributions have made even today’s launch function possible. Zapu thanks and will individually acknowledge the fantastic dedication of people who have gone out of their way to make these offices habitable in a short time. That would have strained landlords because we put pressure to move in as quickly as possible.
We shall now proceed to unveil the billboard locating Zapu in these premises.