IFP chair out of favour?

2009-06-16 00:00

THE conspicuous absence of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) chairwoman Zanele KaMagwaza Msibi at the party’s conference this past weekend has fuelled rumours that she has fallen out of favour with the party president, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, amid talks that she is supportive of the IFP Youth Brigade’s motion to oust him.

KaMagwaza Msibi did not attend the first day of the conference; she provided a medical certificate citing illness. On Saturday, she was “reduced to a spectator” as the proceedings were manned by the IFP secretary-general, Musa Zondi. And on Sunday, she also did not attend as she was apparently involved in an accident.

Sources in the party confirmed reports that she is being sidelined because of her alleged support for the youth, but denied that she has indeed supported them. They said party members had badmouthed her to Buthelezi.

One said: “In the light of our heaviest defeat at the polls recently, the youth brigade commented that had all the other party leaders been working as hard as her, the party would not have lost like that. And that was interpreted by some party leaders as a sign that we want her for the leadership position.”

At no point had the youth brigade aligned itself with KaMagwaza Msibi and she had never supported its motion, the sources said.

The youth brigade chairman for UThukela District, Bhishi Mdakane, said the rumours about kaMagwaza-Msibi were manufactured by people within the party. to turn Buthelezi against her. He said the source of her problems are rumours that the youth brigade is planning to replace Buthelezi with her.

“The misconception here is that everyone is reporting that we are trying to unseat the president, but we just want to remove those that are close to him because they have not led the party well. KaMagwaza Msibi is just being victimised.”

Zondi described the rumours as untrue. “KaMagwaza Msibi missed the meeting because she was unwell and she provided a doctor’s note, and she is still off work because she is sick and because her nephew was shot.”

KaMagwaza Msibi issued a statement saying she was absent because of illness and a death in the family. She denied she had aligned herself with the youth brigade or that she had been sidelined by IFP leadership.

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