The Return of ZANU-PF
The recent ZANU-PF primary elections prove beyond doubt that the revolutionary party is in regeneration mode judging by the overwhelming interest by cadres wanting to represent it in the coming general election.
If there was anyone who doubted that the revolutionary party is a party of possibilities and dreams, then the primary elections gave them an emphatic answer.
If at all there was anyone who still wondered if the dream of our founders is still alive in our time; who still questions the democratic credentials of the revolutionary party; then the primary elections were their answer.
It was an answer told by long stretches of queues around schools, growth points and at various wards as the old and young jostled to cast their votes for their preferred candidates.
Despite logistical glitches, which were expected given the huge turnout, the ZANU-PF primary elections were largely peaceful, orderly and showed the world that far from being a sunset party: the revolutionary party still commands a huge following and is intent on regaining lost ground.
While it is fact that not everyone agrees with ZANU-PF, it is however an uncontestable fact that the revolutionary party’s primary elections were much more vibrant, transparent and generated a lot of interest from both the electorate and the media than other elections held by other parties.
One remarkable phenomenon of the ZANU-PF primary elections was the involvement and enthusiasm exhibited by youths both as voters and contestants.
No amount of propaganda in the so-called private media and some faceless social network characters can blemish the apparent fact that the revolutionary party is experiencing a renaissance.
But this surge in interest is no coincidence.
First, we must understand that since the formation of the coalition government in 2009, ZANU-PF has been working flat out to ensure that its pro-poor, pro-majority and pro-indigenous policies are not just enunciated in policy papers, but are practically delivered so as to uplift the previously deprived black populace.
Despite the constant demonisation and malevolent barrage from some quarters, Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has remained focused in ensuring that wealth is transferred to those disadvantaged by colonialism and neo-colonialism.
The execution of empowerment programmes has been besmirched by technical complexities and does not meet everyone’s expectations, but there can be no doubt that initiatives like the Employee Share Ownership Schemes have started bearing fruits judging by developmental projects already underway in various communities.
A large chunk of youths – regardless of political affiliation – benefited from empowerment loans and grants. These are clear deliverables that many people can identify with and explain why there is such overwhelming interest in the governance of their country.
Second, the restructuring and re-organisation undertaken by the ZANU-PF Commissariat headed by Cde Webster Shamu is definitely another factor that contributed to the resurgence in voter interest in the party.
The re-organisation and restructuring was not just about leadership renewal but was also aimed at ensuring that party cadres were adequately mobilised to vote in numbers come election time.
It is this re-organisation by the commissariat that rejuvenated party structures at cell, ward, district and provincial level in preparation for the July 31 general election.
It is a fact that compared with other parties ZANU-PF is structurally stronger and can withstand competition, particularly in rural areas where it commands a huge following.
The huge turn out witnessed during the constitutional referendum and the recent primary elections could be a pointer of a similar scenario come election time.
Third, the exemplary leadership of President Robert Mugabe in extremely trying times has endeared him to voters.
His consistent quest to right the wrongs inflicted by colonialism boosts his standing among the historically disadvantaged.
While other parties seem hesitant to upset international white hegemonic capital, President Mugabe has consistently sought to bring a new economic order whose sole purpose is to make the black man the master of his own resources.
Even the World Bank, with its long history of rigid imposition of structural adjustment programmes, is starting to accept that people like President Mugabe will not be bullied into submission and are not talking of sustainable development and poverty reduction.
The Bank recently said, “Development is about improving the quality of people’s lives, expanding their abilities to shape their own futures. This generally calls for higher per capita income, but it involves much more.
It involves more equitable education and job opportunities. Greater gender equality.”
And this is precisely what ZANU-PF is advocating for when it titles its manifesto “Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Create Employment”.
On the other hand, MDC-T and MDC’s participation in the coalition government has exposed those parties.
They woefully failed to manage cabinet portfolios, with a striking example being the rot at local government where municipalities are riddled with corruption and service delivery is at an all-time low.
Leaders of these parties have amassed wealth at an astronomical level almost overnight and suddenly Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of MDC-T, has US$4.5 million to buy a house and to take women on expensive ocean cruises!
Furthermore, the levels of intra-party violence during MDC-T’s primary elections points to a party that is disintegrating as leaders scramble for positions of authority so that they can enrich themselves.
Why then should anyone be surprised when credible opinion polls all point to a ZANU-PF victory in the general election.
The ball is certainly in ZANU-PF’s court: this election is theirs to lose.
The party must rein in those elements who want to sow seeds of discontent through tribalism and corruption among other ills.