“I saw party members buying cars and expensive clothes.”
A Zimbabwean secessionist opposition party, the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) recently suspended its Vice President, Presia Ngulube, under a cloud. The suspension, which was communicated to Miss Ngulube via a WhatsApp message, has received widespread condemnation from political activists and other MRP members alike.
This week, our Editor, Mxolisi Ncube, had an exclusive interview with Miss Ngulube, who waved a defiant fist in face of adversity, calling the suspension uncalled-for, unprocedural and unconstitutional. She also scoffed at party leader Mqondisi Moyo’s clenched-fist policy. We publish the transcripts of that interview below.
Mxolisi Ncube (MN): Briefly tell us about what led to your suspension from the Mthwakazi Republic Party?
Presia Ngulube (PN): According to the message I received, they said I put the lives of the Youth in danger and that I was leaking information to other members of the party who are not in the NEC, of which both allegations are not true. There was no danger at all, what I attended was a none political gathering Secondly, I never ever even in a single day released any information to anyone.
MN: In your view, what was the cause of your suspension?
PN: There are many reasons that come to my mind. I’m suspecting that I was suspended because I used to ask about how the party funds are being used because since I joined the party I have never been given any cent, yet in all that I have done for the MRP, I was using my own resources (eg) in campaigning I was using my money. I sometimes got help from people who are close to me, as I voluntarily left my job because of the love I have for my party. To my surprise, I saw the other comrades keep on rising, buying cars and expensive clothes while I never got any cent from the party.
Before got suspended, we had a meeting where I was one of the people who were putting pressure on wanting to know how the party money was being used. Another thing, I think some of the members were unhappy to see me donating some stuff to children and have a Christmas party with them last year. I also think the way I went to contribute money and effort to those prospective nurses who were going to Harare unsettled some people. But I believe any struggle that our people are involved in is also my struggle and that is why I donated the little I had despite the fact that I am not getting anything from the party. There are many things that were happening which some people from my party leadership were not happy with. I remember when I was arrested, I was bailed out by a good Samaritan, not the party. Even when I was travelling up and down from Johannesburg to Bulawayo and back, the party didn’t help me. Instead, I was assisted by people who are close to me, not the party.
MN: How were you told about your suspension and who told you?
PN: The secretary general just sent me a WhatsApp message and it seems like it was already leaked to the social media because some people were already discussing it, asking about my suspension, something which surprised me.
MN: Was that procedural?
PN: It was unprocedural because there was no report to that. I did not attend any hearing as per the constitution. The letter was a surprise as I was in the meeting where the decision was taken, but they waited for me to leave first.
MN: Since your suspension, has the party made any communication with you about the level of investigations and or outcomes?
PN: No-one has ever updated me about the level of investigations to these allegations nor has anyone asked for my cooperation. I have tried to reach out to the National Executive Committee but I was told that I should wait for a detailed report and that further shows how unconstitutional this suspension is.
MN: How did you feel about all this and do any of the allegations made against you stick?
PN: I was so embarrassed, especially on allegations of leaking the information, which I know that I never did. I have been loyal to my party, making sure that our information is protected, but for someone to come and make such allegations about me, it was an embarrassment. I think someone is trying to damage my reputation even and political carrier. It is not a secret that in the past months I have been subjected to humiliation through the newspapers and on social media. I view this as a smear campaign to try and destroy me and soil my integrity.
MN: What do you think will happen now, do you think the suspension will be lifted?
PN: For now, I do not know what will happen, but I believe leaders do change, but the struggle is always the same. What I’m saying is that, whether they lift my suspension or not, I will keep on working for our people’s freedom, which is the calling I have had even way before the MRP was formed, and I am not for positions. What I want in all this is fairness, fair judgement and a fair process as stipulated in the party’s constitution, so I’m going to make sure that all what is happening to me is what the constitution says because I’ve lost my time, nearly lost my job, lost my partner and lost my money because I told myself that I’m going to work for my people. By that reason I feel like I was being used by some people, especially the President (Mqondisi Moyo), to fulfil their mission and now I’m being dumped because (to them) fellow leaders must not question how some donations are spent. As the VP, I wanted to know how and why NEC members were being kept in the dark about donations made to the party. Should I be suspended for asking that?
Really that even gets one think if we are not being taken for a ride. The fact that we were appointed, not elected into positions made us to be subject to a dictatorship because it is now a trend that anyone who raises real issues can be cut off or suspended. In his words, Mqondisi Moyo has said it a lot of times that he is now the sole founder left in the leadership of the party. So it further highlights who calls the shots
MN: Did you have any problems with any senior member of the party prior to your suspension?
PN: Yes, I have had arguments with Mqondisi Moyo (MRP President) regarding some of his dictatorial tendencies of being a demigod to the MRP. And there were instances whereby he took decisions on his own out of the NEC, so for me to attend a meeting and raise issues of teamwork and team building was like a challenge to him. Also, when I was asking about how the party’s finances and why it seemed the security is only provided to the President, why it’s only the President who is using the party’s little donations and why the money is not with the Treasurer, we would fight.
MN: How have other MRP members treated this incident, any messages of solidarity from them and neutral people? What’s your message to them going forward?
PN: A lot of members have shown solidarity with me for being ill-treated. I can tell you, there are many people who are saying they can’t allow this to happen. Some from across the political divide have shown solidarity, encouraging me to be strong. Some from the leadership have also distanced themselves from this decision. I ask myself that if the people from the NEC say such, so who took the decision to suspend me? That shows that it might only be one person or two who took that decision and influenced or threatened others.