SECESSIONIST Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) and the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) have accused the opposition Zapu of hijacking and personalising protests over unfair recruitment of student nurses at Mpilo Central Hospital.

The nursing school reportedly recruited 90% of its students from Harare, in the process sidelining local applicants.The three groups on Monday last week staged a joint sit-in at the nursing school, demanding the authorities to address the anomaly.

MRP and BPRA were, however, left out of the closed-door meetings held by Mpilo executives and Zapu.MRP executive member Mbonisi Gumbo claimed that before the sit-in, they had agreed that none of the parties would wear party regalia, but Zapu members defied the directive.

“It is very unfortunate to note that Zapu, which calls itself a national party, to be seen competing with us (MRP), a regional party. Prior to that sit-in at Mpilo, we had a meeting with Zapu, BPRA and other civic societies strategising on how we were going to go about the sit-in,” Gumbo said.

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“Zapu representative Ndodana Moyo suggested that we should not wear party regalia, but surprisingly they came to Mpilo wearing their party T-shirts, a move that we feel was wrong because we had all agreed on what they had suggested.”

Gumbo accused Zapu of trying to gain political mileage during the sit-in.“Zapu is trying to gain political mileage in wrong places and by doing so they are downplaying us as MRP; mind you, we are the ones who initiated this move. We came to Mpilo three months ago to question the issue of the recruitment of prospective nurses. Civic organisations joined us and Zapu came last, but now they want to act as if they are the ones at the forefront,” Gumbo said.

BPRA health secretary Marble Ngwenya, said Zapu should stop politicking at wrong places.“We are not happy because what is happening here right now is not what we had agreed on, right now (on Monday) Zapu is coming out of a closed-door meeting with Mpilo management, leaving us behind. That was not the strategy, Zapu has a problem,” Ngwenya said.

Contacted for comment, Zapu deputy national organising secretary, Ndodana Moyo said they had earlier visited the hospital in their civilian clothes and were turned down because they failed to identify themselves as Zapu members.

“Well, I understand MRP’s concerns, but we had a reason why we wore our party T-shirts. During our first attempt, we were turned away because we failed to identify ourselves, so the only way was to put on our party T-shirts and we did not have bad intentions,” Moyo said.

He asked the MRP to stop being cry-babies because on the day in question they brought banners that bore their party name.“MRP must desist from being cry-babies, on Monday they brought their banners which had their party name. That is a form of party regalia, so can we as Zapu question as to why they had their banners?” Moyo asked.