MK Party founder Jabulani Khumalo snubs manifesto launch

Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspapers

Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspapers

Published May 19, 2024


Durban — The uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) founder Jabulani Khumalo was nowhere to be seen at the party’s election manifesto launch, which took place at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday, although he insisted that he was still its leader.

Former president Jacob Zuma delivered the key address and outlined the party’s election promises to the supporters who filled the stadium, which has the capacity to hold up to 40 000 people.

When asked on Saturday morning, a few hours before the start of the event, if he would attend, Khumalo said: “I am not going to be there.”

However, he insisted that he was still a member of the party, which he established late last year and registered with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) in March.

“You know that I am the founder of MK, why would I stop being a member? Not attending does not mean that I am not a member. How many people are not there but who are members?” he said.

He declined to answer further questions, including the reason for not attending.

The party, which is a breakaway from the ANC, launched its manifesto way after its counterparts had done theirs and just 11 days before South Africans go to the polls.

Party election head Musa Mkhize told SABC this week that the launch had been delayed as the party struggled to find a venue to host the event.

“We have always been ready, but we have always been delayed here and there having to book a sports ground.

“We were told they were busy, they were fully booked everywhere in the country [but] at last through prayers it has worked, we are going to Orlando Stadium,” he said.

Before the launch, the new kid on the block had been engulfed by court cases, including two that were unsuccessfully launched by the ruling party to oppose the use of the name and logo of its now-defunct liberation military wing. It has also been to court to defend the eligibility of Zuma to take part in the election and become a member of the national assembly.

The Constitutional Court reserved its judgment on an appeal brought by the IEC against the Electoral Court ruling that Zuma should remain an election contestant despite objections launched against his criminal record.

The party also suffered an internal power struggle, including the expulsion of Khumalo, Ray Khumalo, Bheki Manzini, Lebo Moepeng, and Rochelle Davidson for allegedly fuelling disruption in the party.

In retaliation, Khumalo, who claimed to be the party president, wrote to the IEC requesting that Zuma be removed from the party’s election candidate list. However, the commission rejected the request.

Some other activists, including former KwaZulu-Natal government director general Nhlanhla Ngidi, who is the number one candidate in the province, and fees must fall activist Bonginkosi Khanyile were also removed from their leadership positions and kept as ordinary members.

Sunday Tribune