Members of the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) and ZAPU traded barbs during a sit-in at Mpilo Hospital over the controversial recruitment of trainee nurses, with the former accusing ZAPU of ‘selling out’.
The two political parties have been at loggerheads with the hospital authorities over the recent recruitment of student nurses after it was revealed that only four students from the region out of 24 successful candidates were offered places at Mpilo Nursing School.
Last Friday, ZAPU vowed to stage a sit-in until the matter resolved.
On the other front, MRP has also been pushing for a solution to the emotive issue, albeit using different strategies.
The matter came to a head-on Monday when the two parties publicly clashed.
While addressing the crowd gathered at the hospital, soon after a meeting the hospital management, ZAPU officials said they would wait for response from the parent ministry.
However, the MRP members did not buy into the response and called for a swifter response to the matter.
MRP provincial chair for Matabeleland North, Mfulongatshi Mpofu, then instructed all prospective applicants to register their names with them and also submit their application letters.
Mpofu said the party would take the application letters to the office of the Minister of State for Bulawayo Metropolitan.
While this was happening, police moved in to secure the Mpilo Nursing School and surrounded the premises.
Police also approached the hundreds of applicants and ordered them to leave Mpilo Hospital premises, as their “continued presence would be deemed unlawful.”
Around the same time, an anti-riot police truck pulled up and parked outside the nursing school.
In an interview with CITE, ZAPU Southern Region Communication Director, Patrick Ndlovu accused MRP of trying to steal the show.
“We are here to engage so that a solution is found, as ZAPU we came here to engage with authorities over this problem and we are happy, they admitted to the problem. We have a process of engagement and started to look for a solution. We are not here for theatrics and drama but to find a solution. We are also not here to recruit members but to look for solution for the challenges facing people of this region,” he said.
Ndlovu noted that the revolutionary party would not engage in a “dog fight” with MRP yet they were fighting for same cause.
“ZAPU died during Gukurahundi and feels honoured to be called sellouts, we accept this as an honourable title. It is unfortunate that people did not listen to (the late national hero, Dr Dumiso) Dabengwa when he called people to come home to ZAPU. We will not choose publicity but are fighting for the same cause,” he said.
He claimed that MRP was one to talk of selling out yet the party was uninterested in joining other local parties for talks to unite political groupings in the region.
“There are efforts to bring Matabeleland people together and at the table the person who is missing will be the sellout. There are efforts for dialogue and when you sit on the table, you are committed to sitting on it. The missing party would be the Judas, just as the 12 disciples sat but they became 11, one will not be there and will be the sellout as chairs are provided for everyone,” Ndlovu said.
The ZAPU official said although the party was deemed senior, it had no big brother mentality.
“We are not touting to have an upper hand because when you sit at the table, everyone is equal. We are not here to see who is making how much noise but trying to find a solution. Others have been facing same problems since 1958, others come on the scene last year but same problems exist, therefore no is senior but we must all be equal,” said the party’s communication director.