The Non-Event: Mugabe's Former Minister Joins New Revived Opposition Party ZAPU

Dumiso Dabengwa, together with Lesabe, who declared for ZAPU in December last year, as well as others, is feared now by both Mugabe and Tsvangirai. He remains popular with the people but faces an uphill task against the united dictatorship and intolerance of the two major parties. But the MDC, instead of courting him, seeks instead to destroy him



Harare, Zimbabwe, 14 September 2009

I am surprised that some people actually this is news.

Thenjiwe Lesabe, who appeared at a workshop last week with ZAPU officials, openly coming out in support of Dumiso Dabengwa revived party, has been known to be with ZAPU from its formation. In and outside Zimbabwe, this was no secret.

Her name, together with that of Dumiso Dabengwa, Effort Nkomo and others, was first revealed in December last year publicly. The Zimbabwe Times, in fact, announced that she was part of the group that had broken away on 23 December last year.

Next thing we know, we will see headlines shouting that Effort Nkomo has joined ZAPU!

Lesabe is a former cabinet minister, like Dumiso Dabengwa himself and Mugabe is especially bitter about ZAPU being revived. He has openly stated that the move will "erode the support base of the ruling party."

But Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC, also are especially worried about ZAPU. With a precarious hold in the rural strongholds of ZANU PF all over Mashonaland, the MDC has tended to benefit from the Matabeleland purely on the basis that Morgan Tsvangirai is not Robert Mugabe.

The widely respected Dumiso Dabengwa, who can muster huge crowds all over the region as I saw at his last rally at White City Stadium just before the March 2008, is a hero the people know and love who he is, not for who he is not.

It is almost certain that in that neck of the woods, Dabengwa would wipe the floor with Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai and the MDC, on the other hand, have taken a confrontational attitude to ZAPU, as they do with any new formidable opponents. Instead of seeking to work with them, they are taking the attitude that ZAPU are spoilers, out to split the vote in order to allow Mugabe back in.

Mugabe lost in March and stole a whole election and its children in June 2008. We know who let him back into office.

So this accusation is a bit rich coming from the MDC Tsvangirai.

A favourite retort of Dr Makoni to this charge has always been, "What if it is the MDC that is splitting our votes?" Which is a good question. What if it the case of a hopelessly incompetent opposition afraid of a competent opponent, loved by people, recognised for his abilities and seen as a prospect?

The heavyweights who are now within ZAPU have formidable pulling power amongst the people. And this is their sin in the eyes of both Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

It is like the fear MDC supporters had for the Coalition Government. They were against it not because they did not like the principle of going into the lion's den in order to dislodge it, but they were afraid that their man was not up to the job.

They were afraid that he would be outflanked and outwitted by Mugabe.

And look where we are now.

We knew about Lesabe last year and that is old hat. The real story is that the people are ready to throw out the bums in the Inclusive Government and put in a group of people who are able, willing and ready to completely transform this country, bound by neither greed nor the shackles of insincere ideology.


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