BULAWAYO – Bulawayo province has been hit by another round of divisions over who should lead the metropolis following the death of Callistus Ndlovu last week.
Ndlovu collapsed and died at the age of 83 in South Africa, where he was being treated for pancreatic cancer. He was buried at the National Heroes Acre in Harare on Saturday.
Provincial Affairs minister Judith Ncube is among those tipped for the post.
Other names being bandied around include that of Industry deputy minister and Bulawayo South legislator Raji Modi and former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda.
Dark horses for the positions include Elifas Mashaba, who is the provincial administrator; Caleb Sengu, a committee member and Mlungisi Moyo, treasurer.
Before Ndlovu was laid to rest, ambitious party officials in the second city had already started gunning for the position.
This irked the party’s secretary for administration Obert Mpofu, who immediately called fellow party members to order.
While addressing Ndlovu’s funeral service at the City Hall in Bulawayo last Friday, Mpofu threatened to expose those who were behind the surreptitious campaigns.
“In fact there are a lot of issues that need to be resolved in this province and the national party leadership has assigned me to come here and look into these issues and I promise you we’ll fix the problems,” Mpofu told the mourners.
“You find people buying party members, telling lies about others and creating confusion in the party just because they want a position. Let’s not concentrate on the wrong things.”
On Saturday, Mpofu led a delegation comprising senior party officials to restructure the province and come up “with strategies to address the political challenges affecting the province”.
According to Zanu PF insiders, the knee-jerk response from the ruling party’s leadership showed that the death of Ndlovu left the province divided.
Not many people elected to the provincial chair in Bulawayo have lasted a full term owing to factionalism and infighting.
There is talk in Zanu PF that the campaign for the Bulawayo chairman actually started ahead of the party’s annual congress held in Esigodini late last year.
“For those who attended the annual party conference in Esigodini will testify that there are known members who were campaigning for the provincial chair post when Ndlovu was bedridden, so we know who Mpofu referred to when he recently warned some party members against jostling when the body was still to be buried,” said a party insider.
Contacted for comment, Mpofu referred questions to party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo who preferred to play his cards close to his chest saying he was not aware of any jostling for positions in the city.
“I have not been briefed of this jostling. But we have a constitution, people must read the constitution, that’s the one we follow as a party, we cannot be guided by instincts,” Moyo told the Daily News.