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Cablegate: Inkatha Freedom Party Youth Demand Leadership Change

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RR RUEHBZ RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHDU #0100/01 2881324
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 151324Z OCT 09
FM AMCONSUL DURBAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1511
INFO RUCNSAD/SADC COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 0889

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SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR AF/S, INR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV SF
SUBJECT: INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY YOUTH DEMAND LEADERSHIP CHANGE

REF: DURBAN: 50

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1. (SBU) Summary. Members of the Inkatha Freedom Party Youth
Brigade (IFPYB) aggrieved by the recent expulsion of their
leaders staged several demonstrations outside the party's
headquarters in Durban. Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leaders
have called for order and condemned IFPYB calls for party leader
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi to step down. His leadership may be
coming to an end, regardless. End Summary.

Call for New Leadership

2. (U) In the 2009 election, the IFP won only 22.4 percent of
the votes in its former stronghold of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN)
(Reftel). The IFPYB in KZN blamed party leaders for the IFP's
dismal performance at the polls and immediately called for the
removal of current leaders, including Buthelezi. On May 17, the
IFP KZN Executive Committee released a press statement accusing
certain IFPYB members of `failing to present their case to the
IFP National Council and of inciting an illegal demonstration
outside of the party's head office in Ulundi.' As a result of
this `illegal' action, the IFP Executive Committee expelled from
the KZN Provincial Executive Committee of the IFPYB its
Provincial Chairperson, Deputy Provincial Chairperson, Deputy
Provincial Secretary, Provincial Treasurer, Deputy Provincial
Treasurer, Provincial Publicity Secretary, and Deputy Provincial
Publicity Secretary. Expelled KZN Provincial Chairperson
Skhumbuzo Khanyeza insisted to local media that their grievances
with the IFP were supported by the majority of IFPYB members and
prominent party leaders as well.

3. (U) On August 17, about 100 members of the IFPYB
demonstrated outside the party's head office in Durban demanding
that their leaders be reinstated and that IFP leadership be
changed. Demonstrators carried posters accusing IFP General
Secretary Musa Zondi and IFP National Organizer Albert Mncwango
of being behind a plot to expel IFPYB leaders. They also
carried posters calling for Prince Buthelezi to step down as
party leader. Demonstrators heckled Zondi when he tried to
address them.


4. (SBU) On August 31, Pol/Econ Officer witnessed from his
31st-floor office window a clash between IFPYB supporters of
Zondi and those of IFP National Chairperson Zanele
KaMagwaza-Msibi for the position of party president taking place
outside of IFP's Durban head office. Police eventually used
rubber bullets to disperse the vociferous yet peaceful crowds.
Zondi told Pol/Econ Assistant that the IFP is `disturbed' by the
actions of some of its IFPYB members and is calling for calm.
In a public statement, Zondi distanced himself and
KaMagwaza-Msibi from the actions of the youth and asked that
they stop using his and KaMagwaza-Msibi's name to advance their
political interests - an assertion that was repeated at a press
conference by both on October 8. On September 2, IFPYB National
Chairperson Patricia Lebenya-Ntazi issued a press statement
condemning the anti-Buthelezi statements that were made during
the August protest. `Prince Buthelezi was democratically
elected in 2004 as President of the party for a full five year
term, a mandate which has not yet expired,' she said.

Buthelezi Undecided

5. (SBU) Buthelezi is shocked by the recent actions of members
of the IFPYB, according to independent political analyst Protas
Madlala. Addressing students at Mangosuthu University of
Technology (MUT), the Prince castigated those causing rifts in
the party and said they do not respect the IFP and its
constitution. He added that it was up to MUT students to
protect and defend his legacy. Madlala argues that Buthelezi is
still accessing his options but is likely to fight to keep his
position. When asked by local media if he planned to step down
as IFP president, the lusty 83-year-old retorted, `When you look
at me, do I look like I'm ready for the rocking chair?'

IFP Elections and the Next Party Leader

6. (SBU) The current IFP leadership's term of service expired
at the end of September 2009. However, according to the IFP
constitution, leaders must remain in office until a general
conference is held and new leaders elected. Although a date
has not been set, Lebenya-Ntazi told Pol/Econ officer on
September 14 that leaders plan to hold elections before the end
of the year. Lebenya-Ntanzi subsequently told Pol/Econ
Assistant that the conference is likely to be held in January
2010. Expelled youth leader Irvin Barnes has accused the
current leadership of trying to cling to power by postponing the
General Conference. Secretary General Zondi denied these

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allegations and told local media that the delay is a result of
not all party branches being ready for the conference.

7. (SBU) KaMagwaza-Msibi and Zondi are the two most likely IFP
leaders to succeed Buthelezi. They both, however, continue to
distance themselves from IPF supporters who have called for
their election as the next party president. Indeed, when asked
by local media on October 8 whether they would run against the
Prince at the next IFP National Conference, both KaMagwaza-Msibi
and Zondi said, `No.'

8. (SBU) KaMagwaza-Msibi is a strong contender and is supported
by many IFPYB members and the IFP Women's Brigade. She has a
track record of service delivery as a mayor of a large rural
district where the IFP continues to get more than 90% electoral
support. She showed herself during the campaign to be a skilled
and influential politician and tireless champion of the IFP.
However, she will face strong objections from the key party
constituency, the traditional leaders and conservatives who will
have difficulty being led by a woman. KaMagwaza-Msibi also
appears to have lost the support of Buthelezi because of rumors
that she is behind the youth revolt in the party.

9. (SBU) Zondi also enjoys support from members of the IFPYB and
appears to still have the ear of Buthelezi. Zondi as the
Secretary General of the party has control over local party
structures and this might work in his favor. However, he is
seen by many IFP members as too rooted in the past; too
intellectual; and as having no vision for the party's future.


Comment

11. (SBU) The IFP is facing its first internal revolt since its
inception in 1975. Buthelezi's leadership is being challenged
openly for the first time as well. Contacts of Pol/Econ
Assistant indicate that there is growing mistrust among IFP
leaders especially between Buthelezi and KaMagwaza-Msibi and
between Zondi and KaMagwaza-Msibi. While Buthelezi has always
managed to retain his position in the party without difficulty,
it seems this time around it is going to be a hard battle
between the conservatives and the reformists in the party. The
writing on the wall is clear, and Buthelezi may decide to avoid
a humiliating loss and not stand for office. It still remains
unclear, however, who the Prince would support if he were to
step aside. His choice will likely determine the future of his
beloved party - and his legacy.
DERDERIANJ

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