IFP’s Gwala drops a bombshell

2012-10-26 00:00

KING Goodwill Zwelithini’s attempts to broker peace in KwaZulu-Natal were overshadowed yesterday by claims from the IFP of an assassination plot against its leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

The second instalment of Zwelithini’s peace initiative at the Moses Mabhida Stadium had avoided any significant finger-pointing by the assembled political parties, until the IFP’s Blessed Gwala stood up.

He then aimed some surreptitious barbs at the ANC and NFP for their coalition deal in the province before ending his allocated time with a bombshell.

“Lastly, we wish to take this opportunity as the IFP, to register our disquiet that we are aware of a plot to assassinate our president.

“We have placed this matter on the table in some forums. However, no one seems very keen to follow it to its source. We do not know whether such indifference is an indication that the plot may be an agenda known in higher places.”

Until Gwala spoke, parties were doing their best to reach out to each other. In recent months, members, leaders and councillors of the ANC, IFP and NFP have been killed in KZN, sparking talk of renewed political bloodletting.

While murders of ANC members appear to be the result of internal tensions, IFP and NFP supporters have engaged in tit-for-tat attacks, particularly in the kwaMashu hostel area. Some of the speakers were cautious not to label the violence political and said a few of the murders seemed purely criminal in nature.

Zwelithini convened the first of his meetings last Friday in the hope of getting politicians around the table to talk through their differences.

Before Gwala’s turn to speak, ANC breakaway party Cope actually praised the ruling party and NFP for condemning suspects from their own ranks for alleged involvement in some of the killings.

In attendance were more than a dozen members of various faiths and Christian denominations, invited by Zwelithini to help find peaceful solutions.

Zwelithini, in his address, leaned heavily on the scriptures and said if Zulus forgot their Maker, the rains would stop. Since the province has been blessed lately with regular downpours, Zwelithini quickly added that flooding in some parts was due to God’s anger.

He suggested those acting violently were doing so because they no longer consulted the Bible.

“That person is going to the pit of hell,” said Zwelithini.

Mostly he steered clear of criticising political parties outright, preferring to sound a conciliatory tone.

But in one outburst, he accused politicians of making the country “ungovernable”.

Each party committed to preaching a message of tolerance to its followers and praised Zwelithini for his initiative. NFP leader Zanele Magwaza-Msibi was among the diplomatic voices, refusing to take Gwala’s bait with a direct response.

The Witness tried to verify Gwala’s claim with the party and was promised he would return a call and explain. He failed to call back.

KZN Independent Electoral Commission head Mawethu Mosery was part of the delegation, as was Premier Zweli Mkhize, who said: “We are drawing a line here today … these killings and bloodshed must end.”

• brett.horner@witness.co.za

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