Is succession battle taking root in the IFP?

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

For the first in its history, the IFP Youth Brigade sang a song in praise of another leader other than its president Mangosuthu Buthelezi this week.

The IFPYB took advantage of Buthelezi's absence at its 30th anniversary celebrations held at the University of Zululand to sing a song in praise of the party's general secretary Musa Zondi.

The song was led by the party's provincial chairman Mntomuhle Khawula and other leaders.

Political analysts were quick to say this could catapult the popular Zondi into the spotlight. In essence the IFPYB may have endorsed Zondi as the next party president in the light of Buthelezi's reluctance to stand for the position again.

The IFPYB sang: Lelibandla elikaZondi, angeke laphelelwa amandla (loosely translated, the song means "this gathering belongs to Zondi, it will never lose power").

Does this mean the succession battle is on in the IFP? In the party's history, no song or slogan has ever referred to any other leader except Buthelezi.

Speculation is rife within the IFP that Zondi, current chairman Zanele Magwaza-Msibi and national organiser Mangaqa Mncwango are possible successors to Buthelezi.

Last year, the trio was accused of planning to oust Buthelezi. The trio subsequently rejected the allegations.

Zondi downplayed the issue and insisted that Buthelezi was still very much the party's leader.

He said nothing should be read into the IFPYB's singing. Zondi added that the song was not meant to endorse him as a successor to Buthelezi, but rather to honour and praise him as a leader.

"It's customary for our youth to sing songs about their leaders. It is their democratic right to choose whoever they want to lead the party. There is no single leader in the party that can take away that right.

"There are other leaders capable of taking over as party president. I also retain the right to reject their nomination too," Zondi said.

He encouraged IFP youth to be independent thinkers.

"The youth is the vanguard of our party. They should strive to build a strong and vibrant organisation to safeguard, uphold and consolidate the political gains of our party," Zondi said.