BULAWAYO – Combative and vocal former war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda — who has been conspicuous by his silence — has been maintaining a low profile, leaving many here guessing about his political career, especially following the departure of former President Robert Mugabe.
The controversial politician was censured and deposed as leader of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) in 2014 for being discourteous to the former first family.
He was later expelled from Zanu PF.
For his alleged transgressions, Sibanda was arrested and hauled before the courts, where the matter is still pending.
But with Mnangagwa’s ascendency to power, many expected the former liberation war fighter to bounce back in politics, but alas, he has chosen to lie low, amid speculation that some in the province were not ready to receive him for fear of his well-known political influence.
“I am around, as you can hear, I am busy at my farm,” he said.
Asked about his political career, Jabulani refused to comment.
“When it comes to politics let’s cut the conversation,” Sibanda curtly said before hanging up.
War veterans provincial chair Ceiphas Ncube, however, told this paper that they were working on bringing Sibanda back on board, though there were some “technicalities” involved.
“We are having discussions with the leadership over Jabulani, but in those discussions there are some issues and questions that need to be answered before we can finalise his matter but I can confirm that we are seized with his matter,” Ncube said.
“In the province, we have a number of war veterans who were expelled in 2014, who have since re-joined us and a good example is our Zanu PF provincial chair Callistus Ndlovu and many others, so we don’t have any problem with anybody unlike in the previous political dispensation,” he said.
Ndlovu, however, refused to comment on the matter referring questions to the Zanu PF head office in Harare.
Since his withdrawal from the political scene, Sibanda retreated to being a full-time farmer in Nyamandlovu where he has also refused to entertain journalists.
At one point, Sibanda was linked to former vice president Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party before its split, a move that might be causing a rift concerning his return to the former revolutionary party.
However, his failure to actively participate in any of the opposition parties, including those he had been linked to, has heightened speculation that he might retrace his footsteps back into Zanu PF.
The outspoken Sibanda is credited for organising the party’s first “One Million Man March” in 2007 in solidarity with Mugabe.