IFP: Another delay in vote for leader

2010-05-11 00:00

THE embattled Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has for the umpteenth time yesterday announced the postponement of its elective annual general conference, which was supposed to take place at the end of the month.

The party said yesterday that the decision to postpone the conference was taken after the national council noted the backlog in the holding of the party’s constituency and district conferences.

The holding of these conferences is a prerequisite for the annual general meeting (AGM), hence the council decided to briefly postpone the conference.

This conference, which was scheduled to take place between May 28 to May 30, has now been postponed by about two months as it is taking place between July 23 to July 25.

“The IFP has considered a number of alternative dates while taking into consideration the backlog of constituency conferences as well as the upcoming Soccer World Cup to settle on the date in late July.

“The 2010 elective conference will take place in Ulundi and further logistical arrangements will be announced in due course,” IFP national spokesperson the Reverend Musa Zondi said.

It is certainly not for the first time that the IFP has had to postpone this elusive elective conference, which was supposed to take place in July last year. Since June last year the conference has been postponed at least four times and the same reasons have been cited each time.

When the first postponement was announced last year, certain elements within the youth wing of the party blamed the postponement on the reported infighting between national chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi and Zondi, who is also the general secretary.

The duo were said to be contesting the presidency of the party as its leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi had announced that he was not going to be available to lead the party in the future.

The party’s youth wing the IFP Youth Brigade was also advocating for the transformation of the party and demanding new leadership after its dismal performance at the provincial and national government elections last year. A number of youth members were either expelled or suspended for demanding change.

The infighting between Magwaza-Msibi and Zondi was deemed divisive by the national council and late last year the two leaders publicly announced that they were not going to make themselves available as candidates for the presidency. In turn the national council approached Buthelezi to reconsider his decision to resign as leader of the IFP. Buthelezi is yet to respond to that request.

The IFP last held an elective conference in 2005 where for the first time its leadership was elected by a secret ballot. That’s where old guard leaders like its former national chairperson Dr Lionel Mtshali lost the battle to retain their positions.

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