Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Secret Behind Zanu-PF’s Longevity
December 3, 2016
Opinion & Analysis
Freedom Mupanedemo and Charity Ruzvidzo
Zimbabwe Herald

Since independence 36 years back, Zimbabwe has known no other ruling party except Zanu-PF, the party that delivered the masses from the brutal yoke of colonial bondage in 1980.

To date, Zanu-PF has stood the test of time, premised on its revolutionary credentials, depth of character, people-centric policies and ideological clarity.

But what has kept the party focused? History tells all that Zanu-PF’s strength is premised on the way it religiously holds annual national people’s conferences, and congresses after every five years.

The Annual National People’s Conference is held yearly in December to review the current year and signpost the coming year.

During the year, Zanu-PF holds Central Committee and Politburo meetings.

In each fifth year, Zanu-PF holds its congress, an elective meeting in which new leadership is elected. These are the party’s tenets for success.

The party is a product of the December 22 1987 Unity Accord struck between two liberation movements, Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu, that culminated in the formation of a united revolutionary party, Zanu-PF.

But its history dates back to the early 1960s when black nationalists organised themselves to fight against white oppression through early movements like the Southern Rhodesia African National Congress (SRANC), the National Democratic Party (NDP), Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu), the People’s Caretaker Council (PCC) and Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu).

After the banning of the SRANC, NDP and PCC and the arrest of their leaders by the colonial regime, Zanu and Zapu went underground and led a protracted armed struggle against the settler forces using bases in neighbouring countries, culminating in Independence on April 18 1980. The two parties, having realised that there was more that united them than that which divided them, at some point combined forces and went into negotiations with the settler regime of Ian Smith under the banner of the Patriotic Front (PF).

But the two parties went their separate ways during the 1980 elections, with Zanu-PF winning 57 of the seats on the common roll, while PF-Zapu won 20 seats. Disturbances ensued in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions, resulting in the unnecessary loss of lives.

The spirit of unity was to be rekindled again in 1987 with the signing of the Unity Accord between PF-Zapu and Zanu-PF which ended the disturbances. And after that, Zimbabweans have vested faith in the liberation movement during elections, thus a united Zanu-PF has remarkably soldiered on.

The revolutionary party’s status quo has been largely credited to the visionary leadership of President Robert Mugabe and his strong administration, sound planning and people-driven policies that are crafted either at Congress, Central Committee and Politburo meetings or annual conferences.

According to the party’s constitution, the conference’s powers and functions are to receive and consider reports of the Central Committee on behalf of Congress, and to co-ordinate and supervise the implementation of decisions and programmes of Congress by the Central Committee.

The annual conference also gives delegates the opportunity to deliberate on the state of the party and how this impacts on the members as well as the entire country.

The Annual People’s Conference is attended party members from all its 10 provinces and these include members of the Politburo, the Central Committee, the National Consultative Assembly, the Women’s League, the Youth League, provincial councils and members from the party’s districts around the country.

The 16th Zanu-PF Annual People’s Conference kicks off on December 12 in the country’s oldest city, which houses the Great Zimbabwe Monument from which the country derives its name, and ends on December 18 with the host province indicating that all systems were in place for the revolutionary party’s annual indaba.

It will be the second time that Masvingo Province has played host to the Annual National People’s Conference after successfully hosting one in 2003 at Masvingo Teachers’ College.

After the Unity Accord, Zanu-PF had its first National People’s Congress in 1989.

But due to pressing issues, the revolutionary party resolved to, apart from the quinquennial event, hold annual people’s conferences so as to tackle any matters arising.

The first annual national people’s conference was held in 1995 after the 1994 National People’s Congress and below, Zimpapers Syndication gives a brief rundown of some the major highlights and resolutions of the past 15 conferences that have helped the party to remain intact while maintaining its status quo. It also gives timelines of the party’s congresses and conferences.

Some of the resolutions bordered on the party constitution and manifesto while others tackled an array of issues including the economy.

The first Zanu-PF Annual National People’s Conference was held in 1995 at the City Sports Centre, Harare, and the conference’s purpose was mainly to review and implement the resolutions of the congress held the previous year.

One of the resolutions passed was to review the welfare of the liberation war veterans and the resolution was to be implemented later when the war veterans got a windfall in 1997 as compensation for their role in fighting the Rhodesian regime.

The second conference was held in Bulawayo at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair grounds in 1996 while Manicaland hosted the third conference in 1997 at Marymount Teachers’ College. The fourth Annual National People’s Conference was held in the Midlands with Gweru the host city.

One of the major resolutions to come out at the fourth National People’s Conference was to replace the post of provincial governors with that of the provincial council chairmen.

The year 1999 saw Zanu-PF holding a special congress which took place at the Harare International Conference Centre following the death of Vice President Joshua Nkomo in July of the same year.

Cde Joseph Msika was elected Vice President to replace him, and Cde John Landa Nkomo landed the National Chairman’s post. Both Cdes Msika and John Nkomo are late.

The party’s 5th National Annual People’s Conference was held in 2001 in Matabeleland North while its sixth annual indaba was in Chinhoyi where one of the major resolutions was to devise an effective election campaign strategy to lure back the urban electorate. This was in response to the opposition MDC-T party that had made significant inroads in urban areas.

This was followed by the 7th Annual National People’s Conference in Masvingo in 2003 which resolved to include a women’s quota in the Presidium, which comprised the President, the two Vice Presidents and the National Chairman. This saw the then Minister of Information, Posts and Telecommunications, Joice Mujuru, landing the Vice President’s post at the Zanu-PF National People’s Congress the following year.

Some party cadres were not happy with the elevation of Cde Mujuru to the Presidium and some fissures resulted in the suspension of many provincial chairpersons.

The 8th Annual National People’s Conference was held in Esigodini, Matabeleland South, in 2005 while the ninth conference was at Goromonzi High School in Mashonaland East in 2006. With reports of factionalism in the party, the Goromonzi indaba’s main resolution was to reaffirm President Mugabe as the sole candidate for the 2008 general elections.

An Extraordinary Congress was to be called in 2007 mainly to endorse the Goromonzi resolutions

The 10th conference was held in Bindura, Mashonaland Central, in 2008 and it tackled and reviewed that year’s election results after a re-run had to be called after President Mugabe had trailed MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round of the presidential vote, but failed to garner the 50-plus- one votes as was required by the national Constitution. President Mugabe subsequently garnered 85,5 percent of the vote in the run-off plebiscite on June 27.

There was to be an 11th conference in Mutare, Manicaland, a year after the National People’s Fifth Congress.

The party’s 12th conference returned to Bulawayo at the ZITF Grounds while the 13th National People’s Conference was held at the party’s state-of-the-art building in Gweru, the Midlands province, between December 9 and 12 2012.

In Gweru, a myriad of resolutions were passed.

These included mobilising and recruiting more supporters and members into the party, addressing the national economy, indigenisation and empowerment, regional and international relations, women and youths affairs among others.

Under the party mobilisation resolution, the party emphasised the need to mobilise more members so as to retain majority rule. This was in response to the party’s dismal performance in the 2008 parliamentary elections which culminated in a Government of National Unity that featured Tsvangirai’s MDC-T and the MDC led by Welshman Ncube (and later by Arthur Mutambara).

This resolution was widely embraced by all the party structures and it paid dividends as Zanu-PF romped to victory in the 2013 plebiscite reclaiming its dominance, including over two-thirds majority in Parliament.

Zanu-PF held its 14th Annual National People’s Conference in Mashonaland West Province at Chinhoyi University of Technology in 2013 under the theme “Zim-Asset, Growing the Economy for Empowerment and Employment”.

Here major highlights included the implementation of the economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe

Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) and taking it to the grassroots.

Zim-Asset was categorised into clusters, and the food and security cluster seems to have taken centre stage following the El Nino- induced drought last year.

Zimbabwe imported tonnes and tonnes of maize to avert hunger and introduced feeding programmes in schools. To avoid any food shortages, the country, still guided by Zim-Asset, introduced the Command Agriculture scheme and the 2016-17 farming season is expected to boost agriculture production in Zimbabwe.

Last year’s 15th Zanu-PF National People’s Conference held in Victoria Falls came up with a resolution to retain the women’s quota in the Presidium. The resolution is likely to be considered during the 2019 Zanu-PF National People’s Congress


Congresses and Conferences

1989 – The party holds its first congress after the Unity Accord. It formalises the unity of the two parties and adopts a one-party state principle. Two Vice Presidents are elected to deputise President Mugabe. Joshua Nkomo is elected as Vice President, coming in from the former PF-Zapu side, while Simon Muzenda represents the Zanu side.

A new Central Committee is elected incorporating members from the former PF-Zapu side. A new-look Politburo is also appointed by President Mugabe. The congress approves a resolution stating that it would seek to establish a one-party state on the principles of Marxism-Leninism “based on Zimbabwe’s own historical, cultural and social experiences”.

1990-1993: No conferences are held.

1995 – The united Zanu-PF’s first Annual National People’s Conference is held at the City Sports Centre, Harare.

1996 – The second people’s conference is held at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair grounds in Bulawayo. The conference runs from the December 13 to 14 under the theme “Mass Mobilisation for Economic Development”.

1997 – The party holds its third conference at Marymount Teachers’ College in Mutare, Manicaland Province.

1998 – The fourth Annual National People’s Conference is held at the Gweru Teachers’ College, Gweru, the Midlands Province from December 11 to 13.

1999 – A Special Congress is held in Harare and Joseph Msika is appointed as Vice President, replacing Joshua Nkomo who had died on July 1 of the same year. John Nkomo becomes National Chairman.

2000 – The party holds its Third People’s Congress which largely re-affirms the resolutions made at the Special Congress the previous year.

2001 -The party holds its fifth conference in Victoria Falls, Matabeleland North Province.

2002 – The sixth Zanu-PF Annual National People’s Conference is held at the Chinhoyi University of Technology, Chinhoyi, Mashonaland West Province. It ran from December 12 to 15 under the theme “Land for Economic Empowerment”.

2003 – The party holds its 7th Annual National People’s Conference at Masvingo Teachers’ College in Masvingo Province. The party adopts a resolution by the Women’s League that one of its Vice President has to be a woman.

2004 – Zanu-PF holds its Fourth People’s Congress at the Harare International Conference Centre. Joice Mujuru is elected as Vice President to fill the position left vacant by the death of Simon Muzenda, who had died on September 20 2003.

2005 – The eighth National People’s Conference is held in 2005 in Matabeleland South in Esigodini. The conference was held at Umzingwane High School. It runs under the theme “Consolidating our National Gains” from December 8 to 11.

2006 – The party holds its ninth conference Goromonzi High School in Mashonaland East Province. It runs from December 13 to 17 under the theme “Consolidating Independence Through Land, Mining Reforms and Empowerment”. The conference is attended by more than 4 000 delegates.

2007 – A Zanu-PF Extraordinary Congress is held in Harare and reaffirms the leadership of President Mugabe. The two Vice Presidents are Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo. The President appoints and reshuffles members of the Politburo.

2008 – The party holds its 10th Annual National People’s Conference at Bindura University of Science and Technology in Mashonaland Central.

2009 – The party holds its Fifth People’s Congress at the Harare International Conference Centre. President Mugabe is re-affirmed as the undisputed leader of the party, with his two Vice Presidents as Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo. The President appoints and reshuffles members of the Politburo.

2010 – The 11th Annual National People’s Conference is held at Marymount Teachers’ College in Mutare, Manicaland Province. The conference runs from December 6 to 10 under the theme “Defend National Sovereignty, Consolidate Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment”.

2011 – The party’s 12th Annual National People’s Conference is held at the ZITF Grounds. The conference runs from December 7 to 11 under the theme “Defend National Sovereignty, Consolidating Indigenisation and Empowerment”.

2012 – Gweru, the Midlands Province, hosts the party’s 13th Annual National People’s Conference. The conference runs from December 5 to 9 under the theme “Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Create Employment”. Delegates preach unity ahead of elections slated for 2013.

2013 – The party, basking from a massive victory in the July 31 elections in which it reclaimed seats previously lost to the MDC in Bulawayo, Harare, Mashonaland East, Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South, holds its 14th conference at Chinhoyi University of Technology in Mashonaland West Province. The theme is “ZimAsset: Growing the Economy for Empowerment and Employment”. The conference runs from December 10 to 14.

2014 – The party holds its Sixth People’s Congress at an open space near the Harare Showgrounds, dubbed Robert Mugabe Square. It expels Joice Mujuru as Vice President for plotting to unseat President Mugabe. Cdes Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko are appointed as Vice Presidents. Cde Mnangagwa replaces Mujuru on the former Zanu side, while Cde Mphoko replaces Cde John Nkomo who had died in January 2013, on the former PF-Zapu side.

The position of National Chairman is abolished. The party adopts a one-centre of power principle in which all power to appoint or dismiss members is vested in the President.

2015 -The Annual People’s Conference is held at the Elephant Hills Resort Golf Course in the resort town of Victoria Falls, Matabeleland North Province. The conference runs from December 7 to 13 under the theme “Consolidating People’s Power through ZimAsset”.

– Zimpapers Syndication.

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