Another Buthelezi set to lead IFP

Pietermaritzburg - Some of the key words associated with politicians are “ambition” and “arrogance”, but not for Mzamo Buthelezi, who says he believes in humility and consultation.

Buthelezi, 36, was confirmed on Saturday as next in line to succeed Mangosuthu Buthelezi when he retires as leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Not much is known about him outside the IFP. This traditional leader from Mbongombongweni in Zululand holds strong views about the role that traditional leadership can play in helping rural communities.

He wants to protect the interests of women as they participate significantly in small-scale and subsistence agriculture. He also wants women leaders in rural areas, as well as female amakhosi, to be heard and recognised throughout the country.

IFP elective conference

Buthelezi was elected unopposed on Saturday at the IFP’s 34th elective conference in Ulundi. He was fast-tracked to the top above veterans such as Blessed Gwala and Albert Mncwango.

Buthelezi is the chairperson of the party’s political oversight committee, and also served in the leadership of IFP Youth Brigade.

The IFP amended its constitution at the weekend and created the position of deputy president in the hope of realising a smooth transition. This came after the bitter experiences of its 2009 elective conference, which was marred by chaos and resulted in a split that saw the formation of the National Freedom Party.

It hurt the IFP, with the loss of 1.2m votes in the general election of that year, and the loss of at least 30 municipalities, according to national organiser Mfanje Mbango.

Nepotism allegations

Mzamo Buthelezi was born in Paulpietersburg, where he attended primary and high school. He became an inkosi in 2003 after the death of his father. He is married with three children.

He dismissed as “trash” allegations of nepotism because he has the same surname as the IFP leader.

“Yes, in the house of Buthelezi and in the Zulu culture those of us with the same surname are related, but I have used my membership and ability to get to where I am. There are lots of Buthelezis and this is a non-issue.”

Mangosuthu Buthelezi was re-elected unopposed and will see through the leadership transition.

Gwala was elected national chairperson and Mncwango his deputy. Sibongile Nkomo, a veteran leader in the women’s brigade, was elected secretary-general.

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