IFP explains Buthelezi’s face on election campaign material
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Durban – The IFP has moved swiftly to dismiss concerns that its use of the party’s founder and president of 44 years, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi on election campaign material was undermining its incumbent president Velenkosini Hlabisa whom party leaders say is “not a stooge president”.
IFP national leader Narend Singh, the party’s campaign chairperson, and Mkhuleko Hlengwa, the national spokesperson, were earlier briefing members of the media on their state of readiness for the November 1 local government elections.
Hlengwa said there was no crisis in them using the imagery of the 93-year-old party founder, and that this was also the view of the structures, membership and leadership of the party because the working relationship between Buthelezi and Hlabisa was “top notch, 100%”.
Hlengwa was at pains to explain that the party had intended to dedicate the year 2020 to Buthelezi, but they were forced to shelve those plans due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the party leadership moved this to 2021.
“The leadership responded to its plans by saying that the face of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi will be used in tandem with that of the leadership of the party in general, and this was a proposal that had come from the president of the IFP.
“We are paying homage and tribute to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi for the work that he has done and the work that he continues to do, and as we are launching our manifesto some of these things will be clarified. President Hlabisa is not a stooge president, he is the president of the IFP and he continues to do the work of the president of the IFP,” Hlengwa said.
He said the decision to use branding with Buthelezi’s imagery should also be understood in the political context that they functioned on the basis of the mandate of their structures.
“These decisions are resolutions of conference in 2019 in so far as imagery of the party is concerned. It’s the structures that have made the decision at conference, which is binding on the leadership. Prince Buthelezi has been assigned the duty to manage the transition in the party, and therefore he is in one way or form still part and parcel of the party’s operations,” Hlengwa said.