IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa to deliver IFP manifesto
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DURBAN - IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa will represent the party at its election manifesto launch in Durban on Thursday and not Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
The IFP had used the face of 93-year-old Buthelezi on their placards and branding for the November 1 local government elections to lure voters, which did not sit well with certain people in the party. It held a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Monday.
Sources within the party claimed that members against Hlabisa tried to change the programme to remove him as the keynote speaker and get Buthelezi to deliver the manifesto.
A source said the NEC, however, resolved that launching a manifesto was the prerogative of the president. “It is a victory for those supporting Hlabisa. We are looking beyond this victory. We want all the party branding to be changed after the election to reflect that we have a new president,” said a source.
Hlabisa referred media queries to national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa. He said he did not want to discuss the NEC’s decision.
Last week, the Daily News wrote about the confusion and anger among Hlabisa’s supporters after the party decided to make Buthelezi not Hlabisa the face of the IFP’s election campaign. The decision was also questioned by political analyst, Dr Ralph Mathekga, who blamed the party for not making an effort to live beyond Buthelezi as founder.
The analyst said even if party members had begged Buthelezi to return, he could have turned the offer down for the benefit of his legacy, and to allow the current president, Hlabisa, to lead the campaign.
Buthelezi stepped down as the party leader in 2019. He founded the IFP in 1975. He remained in Parliament to lead the party caucus but factions emerged. The party was still divided between KKK (konke kuhamba kahle) meaning why change, because everything was still going well and AU (Abusekho Ubunzima), which basically meant no more problems as we have new leadership. The AU is associated with Hlabisa while KKK is said to be backing Buthelezi.