ZANU PF Congress: Chickens come home to roost


YOU can now see it from Bulawayo Road, the little white city in the open space behind the Rainbow Towers that ZANU PF sprung up in little over a month for its 6th National People’s Congress.
It’s a display of power, presence and permanence.
The calm and sense of focus reflected by the sparkling white venue, in spite of the far-reaching drama happening inside ZANU PF, has reduced opposition politicking to mesmerised on-looking.
The MDC is as dumbfounded by what’s happening in ZANU PF as the West, everyone is.
Tendai Biti boasted ZANU PF would go nowhere without them even after the MDC was crushed in the July 31 2013 elections and we wondered.
Morgan Tsvangirai called for a return to the Government of National Unity (GNU) and we were perplexed.
There was a time when they were part of a big political strategy for the future of Zimbabwe.
They were in contact with elements within ZANU PF towards that political objective.
There is a danger to be simplistic about what is happening in ZANU PF and reduce it to a struggle for power.
It is the continuing war to wrestle our resources from foreign control and we are being punished for it.
That is how confusing the issue is.
It is heartening most people now see it.
Many ZANU PF critics must surely wonder how it won the July 31 2013 general elections with such a spectacularly wide margin; 150 seats against MDC’s 42 in spite of the outward negative perception people seemed to have about the party.
ZANU PF is an expression of the aspirations and dreams and hopes of the ordinary man.
It is also an expression of the agony and pain; an expression of the will of the people to fight against oppression.
That is why it won by a landslide last year’s elections.
The connection between ZANU PF and the people is so clear it is unwritten. And if anyone deviates from the line, they are swept aside and left behind.
It is the continuing story of the chiefs of the security services declaring back in 2000 they would not salute a leader that did not espouse the ideals of the liberation war.
There was a story on BBC this week about ZANU PF Congress merely rubber-stamping the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe’s bid to become the party’s vice president, wherever they got their information.
The story ignores the serious allegations of corruption and conspiracy with the West to topple an elected president levelled against Vice-President Dr Joice Mujuru and a few of her close associates.
But then the people have spoken and made their decision.
The people are making history, the premise upon which ZANU PF was formed in 1963.
There is a myth that ZANU broke away from ZAPU in 1963 over tribal and ethnic differences; that fervent Shonas broke away from Nkomo’s Ndebele leadership.
The idea to form a nationalist movement away from Joshua Nkomo was mooted at Enos Nkala’s house in Highfield, himself a Ndebele.
The reason why the group of young men who included Enos Nkala himself, Morris Nyagumbo, Ndabaningi Sithole, Robert Mugabe, Leopold Takawira and Washington Malianga broke away from Joshua Nkomo was disagreement over strategy to bring UHURU to the country.
The young ‘rebels’ already saw the hardening political stance in white politics which the others couldn’t see.
Liberals like Garfield Todd and Edgar Whitehead had been swept aside and made way to hardliners like Winston Field and later Ian Smith.
Earlier in 1961, Joshua Nkomo had returned from a political meeting in London and claimed he had brought the country in his ‘briefcase’ and that independence was ‘around the corner’.
What he had in fact agreed to with the British was a 15-member African representation in parliament against a 50-member white representation.
That was how the disagreement with the hardliners finally exploded into the public domain.
The hardliners believed the way to bring freedom was through confrontation and use of force and not diplomacy.
They could see Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) coming and the futility of diplomacy in such a situation.
They believed the need to take up arms to fight the whiteman to get back our land, to reclaim our identity.
It is not as simplistic as the Americans and the British coming and pouring in money, creating employment and the country developing, as President Mugabe pointed out in the meeting with the service chiefs and war veterans a day before the opening of Congress.
The party has never lost sight of that founding focus.
There was a meeting at Chatham House on January 24 1999 chaired by Sir Richard Dowden a chief adviser to the British government on African policy.
The meeting was called to formulate a strategy to deal with ZANU PF in the face of its compulsory land repossessions.
The meeting came out with four options to dislodge ZANU PF from power:
l to create an opposition that would challenge ZANU PF to power. (The MDC was formed a few months later on September 11 1999.)
l to foment civil unrest and street protests similar to the Orange revolutions that brought down several governments in Eastern Europe. (The MDC’s Final Push in 2006 must be viewed in the context of that option.)
l to infiltrate and subvert the armed forces to stage a coup. (The strong statement issued by the combined chiefs of the armed forces in 2000 that they would not salute any future leader that did not espouse the values of the liberation war scuttled that option.)
l to infiltrate and subvert ZANU PF itself and buy amenable individuals from within to wrench power from the perceived hardliners and collaborate with the West to abort ZANU PF’s empowerment programmes.
The chickens have come home to roost.
ZANU PF is going through a cleansing process and it will emerge stronger.
It has gone through worse crisis and the people have always triumphed. Revolutions are not defined by numbers as Dr Ibbo Mandaza mistakenly believes.
They are defined by political and social programmes.
That is why ZANU PF can dump more than 70 percent of its top leadership and still be right.


  1. I find this piece reassuring on so many levels considering the undeniable the hope that Zimbabwe carries for the Black world. Revolutions are never an end in themselves; likewise, ZanuPF is but the means to a liberated and thriving Zimbabwe where all of Afrika’s personhood can be reimagined. We are behind this objective as espoused by the program of ZanuPf. Black Love, land & Revolution!

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