Youth elections: delegates walk out

2011-03-14 00:00

A SIZEABLE number of delegates at the Inkatha Freedom Party Youth Brigade (IFPYB) conference staged a walk-out yesterday after a popular candidate for the chairmanship of the party’s youth wing was forced by the party’s leadership to withdraw.

Thabo Xaba of Newcastle, former president of the IFPYB student wing, the South African Democratic Students’ Movement (Sadesmo), withdrew from the race to lead the IFP youth after being told by party secretary-general Musa Zondi that he does not enjoy the support of party president Mangosuthu Buthelezi and the national council.

Zondi told the conference that there were other reasons that forced them not to support him.

It emerged at the conference that there had been a series of behind-the-scenes meetings between Xaba and a top IFP leadership delegation led by acting national chairperson Dr Bhekisisa Mthethwa, where he was asked to withdraw from the contest weeks before the weekend’s elective conference.

Last week more than three meetings took place in Durban and Empangeni. Even on Friday and Saturday the leadership was still trying to negotiate with Xaba to withdraw in favour of their alleged favourite, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, who was eventually elected unopposed to the position.

Zondi gave Xaba an ultimatum: withdraw from the contest or continue creating disunity.

Zondi said even though every member of the party has a right to elect and to be elected, that right is not practised in a vacuum.

Xaba tried to plead to be given a chance to decide whether they trusted him or not, but he was told that if he enter the contest it would divide the party.

It emerged that Xaba was considered unfit to lead the IFPYB because he had failed to defend the party when it came under heavy attack from the “Friends of VZ’’ from 2008 and that he had received Facebook messages of support from elements within the National Freedom Party.

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