Zanu-PF blanks Juju in Zim

2012-10-20 19:16

Zanu-PF bigwigs snubbed former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema on his trip to Zimbabwe last weekend following a resolution by the party’s central committee not to entertain him, City Press has established.

Malema was in Zimbabwe on a private visit to attend the wedding of two Zanu-PF members.

The central committee, which is Zanu-PF’s policy-making organ, met in Harare on the eve of Malema’s visit, where it took the decision not to associate with him.

It is understood that Zanu-PF did not want to appear to be taking sides and feared “jeopardising” relations with the ANC leadership and President Jacob Zuma, who doubles up as the Southern African Development Community-appointed mediator in Zimbabwe’s political crisis.

The ANC leadership has traded accusations with Zanu-PF in the past over its relationship with Malema. Last year, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe accused the Zanu-PF leadership of influencing Malema’s thinking and behaviour.

A senior Zanu-PF official, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Remember that Mantashe promised to help Zanu-PF win the next elections when he attended Zanu-PF’s December conference last year.

Hence some quarters of the party felt that associating with Malema would send the wrong message that the party backed (Malema) in his fight with Zuma.

“It was felt safe to stay clear of the former youth leader until the dust around him settles.”

Malema has fallen out of favour with Zuma, which has seen the former youth leader launch an energetic campaign to block Zuma’s re-election bid at the ANC’s elective conference in December.

Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo maintained that Malema only came to attend the wedding and nothing more.

He said: “He came here as an individual to attend a wedding and that’s all there is to it. I can’t speculate beyond that.”

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists has demanded an apology from Malema over the behaviour of his bodyguards, who allegedly beat up two journalists, Tendai Kamhungira and Bethule Nkiwane, from the privately owned Daily News.

The union’s president, Dumisani Sibanda, said:

“The behaviour of Malema’s bodyguards is deplorable and was meant to intimidate journalists who were discharging their professional duties.”

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