The cornerstone of a Reformed Zanu PF

By Darlington Nyambiya

The cornerstone of a Reformed Zanu PF will lie in the post-Mugabe era.For as long as President Robert Mugabe remains the leader of Zanu Pf, the party will not reform and it will continue to churn out outdated and Stone Age tactics to maintain its stranglehold on power. When the party’s grip on power was recently threatened by the new phenomenon of pressure-groups on social media, Zanu PF was caught flat footed by the protests and was forced to revert back to stone age tactics of abductions, intimidation and jailing of pro-democracy activists.

Instead of utilising 21st century tactics of engaging and listening to grievances of pressure groups, Zanu PF threw fuel to the fire by using outmoded tactics to intimidate pro-democracy activists. A reformed Zanu PF would have turned demands of pressure groups like ThisFlag into an opportunity by taking action on corruption and more importantly, looking at ways of improving service delivery to citizens.

If a reformed Zanu PF had acted on corruption on both itself and opposition and opposition political parties, the state president and the ruling party would have gained political capital with an eye on the 2018 elections. But inaction on corruption and service delivery by the ruling party has created an opportunity for the opposition to regroup and re-energise Zimbabweans for the 2018 elections.

Regional Comparison of former Liberation Movements

Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (Zanu PF)

Zanu PF has been the ruling party in Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. Zanu PF has been led by Robert Mugabe, first as Prime Minister and then as President from 1988 after merger with l PF Zapu, but still retaining the name Zanu PF. In the 2008 parliamentary election, Zanu PF lost sole control of parliament for the first time in party history and brokered a difficult power-sharing deal with Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), but subsequently won the 2013 election and gained a two-thirds majority

However, since independence in 1980, the ruling party has had only one leader in Robert Mugabe. And despite the country being in economic turmoil and President Mugabe being frail due to old age at 93, he has shown little signs of wanting to retire. Infact, Zanu PF has gone a gear up and has endorsed the nonagenarian as the ruling party’s presidential candidate for the 2018 elections.

African National Congress (ANC)

The African National Congress (ANC) is the Republic of South Africa’s governing social democratic political party. It has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa, with Nelson Mandela as its inaugural President after winning the 1994 election. Today, the ANC remains the dominant political party in South Africa, winning every election since 1994. Jacob Zuma is the country’s incumbent Head of State.

The ANC has been the opposite of Zanu PF since it became the ruling party in 1994 when South Africa achieved independence. Since independence, the ANC has provided South Africa with four state presidents in Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and current president, Jacob Zuma. Infact, the ANC will be electing its fourth president in December this year and will nominate that ANC candidate to vie as the fifth state president in post apartheid South Africa in the forth coming 2019 election.

Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM)

The Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) is the dominant ruling party in Tanzania and the longest reigning ruling party in Africa. It was formed in 1977 following the merger of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) and the Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP) which were the sole operating parties in mainland Tanzania and the semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar respectively.

Since the restoration of the multi-party system in 1990, CCM has retained its popularity, winning all the past five general elections in 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015. Jakaya Kikwete, its presidential candidate in 2005, won by a landslide receiving more than 80% of the popular vote. In the last election, it won 186 of the 239 constituencies, continuing to hold an outright majority in the National Assembly.

The CCM has also been the opposite of Zanu PF, since in the restoration of the multi-party system in Tanzania; the CCM has provided Tanzania with three state presidents in Benjamin Mkapa, Jakaya Kikwete and the current anti corruption president in recently elected John Magufulu.

Peer Review

When one compares and contrasts Zanu PF with other former liberation movements like the ANC and CCM, one discovers that failure by Zimbabwe’s ruling party to reform is mainly anchored on its failure to renew its leadership. While the CCM has provided Tanzania with five leaders since independence in 1961 and the ANC has provided four since 1994, but Zanu PF is still stuck with an old and frail president who is now struggling not only to stamp his authority in the ruling party but is also losing the battle to economically manage Zimbabwe.

Since the ANC is currently on a downward spiral and is gradually losing support owing to corruption and an inclination to loot, the election of a new ANC leader in December this year will provide the party with an opportunity to generate new ideas and reboot the party in time for the 2019 elections. But in contrast, Zanu PF will be stuck with an old and tired leader who will be recycling old ideas for the 2018 elections; and will likely face a rejuvenated opposition in the form of a Grand Coalition.


In conclusion, the cornerstone of a Reformed Zanu PF is anchored in leadership renewal. Zanu PF must mirror other liberation movements like the ANC, CCM and even that of its ‘the all weather friend’; the Chinese Communist Party, to learn that leadership renewal to an organisation directly generates new ideas and reboots its political fortunes.

However, a reformed Zanu PF will only happen in the post-Mugabe era where the new leader of the party will have to navigate and chart a new political direction for the organisation to survive in the 21st century. This new political discourse for a reformed Zanu Pf will have to incorporate leadership renewal on a regular basis of every 10 years to guarantee generation of new ideas and rebooting of the party.

The Writer: Darlington Nyambiya is the President of the Local Solutions Council (LSC) , a leading Zimbabwe Think Tank. The LSC is a Think Tank with members from diverse Zimbabwean communities in politics, business, religion and sports. He is also a Pro Democracy Activist, Political Strategist, Human Rights Defender, Social Media Commentator, Writer and a Business Executive. Contact Details ; Skype ID : darlington.nyambiya , Twitter handle: D_Nyambiya, Email , Corporate Twitter Handle : lsc_thinktank For more information on Strategic Views on Zimbabwe log onto our website on :Website Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved. The Article may not be published or reproduced in any form without prior written permission

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