A few months after warring factions within the Minority Front (MF) smoked the peace pipe by signing an out-of-court settlement, cracks are beginning to show.
Some of its councillors seem to be boycotting the party’s election campaign, while others are refusing to follow a directive from party leader, Shameen Thakur Rajbansi, to help fund the cash-strapped party’s election campaign.
Councillors and members of Parliament are required to foot the bill for the hanging of posters, for tents to be pitched outside voting stations and for volunteers who will work on the campaign.
But a few councillors are questioning this, saying the entire campaign should be funded from party coffers, as in the past.
“These are the national and provincial elections and they should be funded by the head office and not by the councillors. What has happened to the party funds?
“We have been asking for the financial records to be made public and this has not happened,” said one councillor, who refused to be named for fear of reprisals.
While some councillors are said to be refusing to do any campaigning for the MF, Thakur Rajbansi sought to downplay this on Monday, saying it was only a handful of councillors not complying with her directives, while 90 percent were.
She said she had personally hung election posters in Phoenix on Sunday.
“If I, as a party leader, can do it, why can’t these people do it? We are not asking them for much money because the posters are provided. We are just saying they should come get the posters and hang them up,” Thakur Rajbansi said.
She hinted there could be tough sanctions against any councillor who did not help with the campaign.
Such conduct would be considered when the performance review was done after the election, she said.
Writing to Ladysmith councillor, Raj Maharaj, Thakur Rajbansi said: “You earn and do not pay a contribution at all to the party, so funding should not be your excuse. Please stop using money as an excuse and start using your manpower.”
Maharaj, who claims to be recovering from a stroke, is one of the councillors who have yet to collect posters from the MF offices in Chatsworth.
Suspecting some councillors may be feigning illness to avoid being part of the election machinery, Thakur Rajbansi has asked those councillors and public representatives claiming to be ill, to provide proof of this.
They include Maharaj and MP Roy Bhoola, who, according to Thakur Rajbansi, claims to have suffered a “slipped disc”.
In an internal party memo sent to public representatives, Thakur Rajbansi said because of Bhoola’s unavailability for the campaign, his constituency of Umzinto might need an “intervention”.
She said yesterday that this would mean her taking over and campaigning personally in the area.
“They might think they are bringing me down, but whenever they do such things I just double my efforts.”
She denied she was ruling the party with an iron fist, saying all her main detractors were part of the party’s national executive committee which took these decisions.
“Now they turn around and want to play victim when they have to implement the very same decisions that they took.”