Has Zanu PF ever cared for the people?

via Has Zanu PF ever cared for the people? – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 5, 2014 by Everson Mushava

“MAY I assure you that my government is determined to bring about meaningful change to the lives of the majority of the people in the country? But I must ask you to be patient and allow my government time to organise programmes that will effectively yield that change.”

That was then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe in his maiden speech on the eve of Independence celebrations in 1980.

President Robert Mugabe addresses thousands of people who attended his birthday bash.

“There are people without land who need land, people without jobs who need jobs, children without schools who need schools and patients without hospitals who need them. My government will certainly do its best to meet the existing needs in these areas. But you have to assist us by being patient and peaceful.”

Mugabe’s words, then received with pomp and fanfare, gave much promise to a people that had suffered more than a century of ghastly social and economic inequalities.

So refreshing were the words that the war-weary Zimbabweans could not but just throw themselves into months of wild celebrations.

Renowned author Chenjerai Hove summarised the 1980 Independence Day as a day where “the birds of hope have deposited new eggs in our hearts of hope.”

“It was a day of hope and pride, the arrival of a new self, a new being, a fresh flower of our human dignity,” he wrote.

Hove’s sentiments were summarily shared by every Zimbabwean then who had always cherished the idea of a new sovereign identity.

But 34 years on, Zimbabwe’s narrative seem to have changed for the worst.

While Mugabe’s admirers claim the 90 year old leader, in power since independence, had done enough to transform the lives of many Zimbabweans, his ardent critics say his government has done more harm than good to the economic legacy left by colonial government lead by Ian Smith.

Zimbabwe’s economy has continued to deteriorate after five years of stabilisation under a coalition government between Mugabe and his erstwhile rival MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube.


Unemployment is hovering above 80% while many companies continue to close shops. The country is faced with a severe cash squeeze, over 80% of the people are living on below $2 a day which, according to the United Nations standards, are judged to be living in abject poverty.

The discovery of one of the world’s biggest diamond mines in Marange and other valuable minerals around the country has failed to transform lives of millions of Zimbabweans. Government is struggling to pay its 240 000 strong workforce.

The manufacturing industry has irretrievably collapsed. Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has been traversing the globe begging for funding, but always returning home empty handed.

Economy the biggest security threat

LACK of budgetary support has hampered the success of the ruling Zanu PF government’s economic blue print, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) which Chinamasa says needs in excess of $27 billion, seven times more than the $4,1 billion budget figures he presented in his 2014 budget statement.

Mugabe’s populist policies and policy inconsistencies have proved to be the final nail in the coffin of the country’s free falling economy. Zanu PF seems to be clueless on how to transform the economy.

With the ever increasing hardships the general populace is facing, Mugabe’s critics are now questioning Zanu PF’s policy sincerity despite its fervent claims that it is a “People’s Party” directed by the “wishes of the people.”

Zanu PF and the people; the historical perspective

TO understand what drives Zanu PF actions, it is important to understand the party’s ideology going back into history when the party was formed to launch an offensive against colonial rule.

When the 1970s liberation war was fought, using China’s Mao Tse-tung’s guerrilla warfare, Zanu PF’s military wing, the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (Zanla)’s combatants claimed that the liberation war fighters were fish in water, referring to the relationship between the guerrillas and the people, known as the povo.

Water can survive without the fish, but the fish cannot survive without water. Going by this, the success or failure of the armed struggle depended on the people.

But after independence, the Zanu PF government made several decisions that reified the war veterans against the povo. First it was the War Victims Compensation Fund in 1994 and later, and then the land reform programme that saw the freedom fighters become prime beneficiaries of land.

Notwithstanding that the move created tension between the formerly inseparable “fish and water,” Zanu PF never looked back because it was a political decision taken for political expediency. Even to this day, the war veterans have been conduits to prop up Zanu PF so that it remained in power, even through violent means.

Zanu PF has been using Mao’s communist approach during the liberation war which placed people at the centre of every struggle, the reason the Zanla forces got an upper hand during the war of independence as compared to other military wings like Zipra.

Zanu PF supporters march in Harare city centre before National Heroes celebrations. Picture: Cynthia R Matonhodze

Even after independence, Zanu PF continued to identify itself with the masses and most of its programmes where identified as people’s. But 34 years on, the party seems to have dumped its communist approach in favour of capitalism which has seen a few individuals, particularly Mugabe’s inner circle and close cronies becoming mega rich while the majority swim in gnawing poverty.

Observers have described the current set up in the Zanu PF governance as “indigenous capitalism.” The people are succumbing to a bedeviling cash squeeze while Mugabe’s cronies have become fat cats. Corruption perpetrated by abuse of State power is rampant and the 90-year old leader is not keen to deal with it.

The country is on its knees due to Mugabe’s “populist” policies that are just, but not benefiting all the people. Developments on the ground are cause for concern to millions of Zimbabweans who question if Zanu PF has ever cared for the people or cared for itself?

Indications showed Zanu PF was good at empowerment, but empowering its people. It is communist in structure, but capitalist in its behavior.
There is ‘no people’ to talk about in terms of action, but in soliciting support, it is the people first. The party represented the people first and self later. It has taken the party as its fiefdom.

Political commentator Vince Musewe said the fundamental focus of Zanu PF since 1980 has never been to deliver value to the millions of Zimbabweans but to entrench a one party State at all cost.

“Building the political kingdom remains their sole objective,” Musewe said.

“No economic blue print has ever worked simply because of the lack of political will to transform the colonial economic architecture inherited at independence. None, but ourselves remains their philosophy and we have seen a Zanu PF predator black capitalist class dominant in all economic spheres at the expense of all.”

Another political analyst Takura Zhangazha said: “Yes Zanu PF initially functioned with commitment to the values of the liberation struggle. But with the passage of time between independence and present day, it has functioned more to retain power than to use it in the best interests of the masses.”

Populist economic versus political policies: Zanu PF’s dilemma

WHILE Mugabe could be credited for his stubborn dedication to education after he assumed power, many blame him for his “populist” policies that were well crafted to preserve a patronage system that enabled the party’s continued stranglehold on power.

Most of the projects that his party has touted as people’s programmes have benefited only a few connected individuals as shown in the politicisation of food aid farming inputs to impoverished communities.

Zanu PF has remained in power by building a patronage system to cow people to support it for survival.

Voices of dissent have been dealt with ruthlessly as shown by the Gukurahundi massacres and the political violence that characterised Zimbabwe ahead of Mugabe’s June 2008 presidential solo run after he suffered his first electoral defeat to Tsvangirai’s MDC-T since independence.

The violence that followed March elections all, but showed Zanu PF was desperate to hold on to power, even if its policies were not marketable to the people. Zimbabwe suffered the worst economic nightmare in 2008, and the same ghost is returning to haunt them.

Villagers wait to register as voters at Nyachuru Secondary School in Mazowe

Since independence, Zanu PF has come up with several economic policies and political decisions. While all the political policies were implemented with vigour, most of the economic policies were dumped and replaced with new ones before full implementation.

Right from the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) in the late 80s which was dumped prematurely, most of the economic blue prints that followed suffered the same fate up to today. The same is likely going to happen with the current one, ZimAsset.

Utterances by Chinamasa that Zimbabwe needed to adopt strategies by developed countries is already a hint towards its abandonment, not to mention the discord that has rocked the party’s indigenization programme, upon which ZimAsset was premised.

Compensation of war veterans, the land reform of 2000 and the indigenisation programme, to mention, but a few, are political decisions that Zanu PF undertook and implemented with vigor, even if it meant a lot of suffering to millions of Zimbabweans.

“So if one assesses the land reform programme it resonated with the values of the struggle but was executed for expedient reasons. That is why it is now more about transfer of land from one elite to another and retaining similar land ownership structures to those of the Rhodesian settler state,” Zhangazha said.

“On the economy, Zanu PF functions from an economic commandist framework as did various African liberation movements that were strongly influenced by the five year development plan model of the former USSR.”
He said Zanu PF was more election oriented than people centred.

“It does not reflect a democratic understanding of politics, but more an electoral contest. So its economic blueprints do give it a platform from which to claim to be leading an organised government. But in most cases these programmes have only seen minimal success if any and only to be succeeded by new ones, all with the same elite-benefit-end result.

“It is safe to argue that on the economy Zanu PF is more rhetoric than people centred result.”

Dewa Mavhinga, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Chairperson, a democracy and good governance civil society coalition said Zanu PF has no track record of caring for the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans, but uses the name of the people for political expediency.

“No attempt was made to strike a balance between political and economic decisions; all economic decisions followed political considerations notwithstanding that invariably they turned out to be bad economic policies adversely impacting the livelihoods of ordinary Zimbabweans, but beneficial to the political elite,” Mavhinga said.

He said Esap, Zimbabwe’s involvement in the DRC war, the chaotic land reform programme, the hand picking of a few companies and the army to mine and sell Marange diamonds and the introduction of ill-defined indigenisation policy, among others, were all political decisions that were bad for the people of Zimbabwe, but Zanu PF elites.

But of course Zanu PF’s job of coercive control was made easy by a rather malleable, submissive and cowed population that seemed to have resigned to fate and given up the just and legitimate struggle for genuine freedom, democracy and development, Mavhinga said.

However, Zanu PF deputy director of information Psychology Maziwisa said while it was not in dispute that the country was facing economic challenges, the ugly truth was that most of the country’s problems were a a result of deliberate manouvres of sabotage by internal forces like MDC-T’s Tsvangirai.

“Tsvangirai, for example, continues to believe-and this really is a mistake belief- that the only way he can become President of Zimbabwe is if he sabotages the economy and somehow cause discontent,” Maziwisa claimed.

“This is precisely what he did immediately after losing the July 31 elections when he privately urged businesses to withdraw their funds from the banks. And that’s why today we have serious liquidity problems in the country to the extent that government is constrained in its effective implementation of ZimAsset.”



  • comment-avatar
    eugene 9 years ago

    Psychology unorwa mupfungwa sevanhu vese vachiri funga kuti panevhingabu iye Mugabe neZanu vachirikuzvigadza pazvigaro nekuzvitonga.Wake up and smell the coffee people have long given up on you.The majority of the Zimbabwe who are still in the country are only there because they have nowhere to go if there was dai masara mega munyika yenyu namai nababa chatunga

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    Tjingababili 9 years ago


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    He does look a lot like the devil in the first picture. Doesn’t he?That wizzened claw could rip flesh off a Zimbabwean’s back in one move!!!

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    John Thomas 9 years ago

    To describe what ZANU is practicing as capitalism, indigenous or otherwise, is inaccurate. Organized crime would be closer to the mark.

    All this talk about fish and water is a distraction. The cry at the beginning was join us and get your share when we win. This is where everything has gone wrong. The ZANU’s feel that they can take what they want, when they want, from whoever they want by some kind of natural right. They never conceived that this could have negative consequences.

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    Mlimo 9 years ago

    Well you can take so much and then well you pay for it big time. This is the problem with a bunch of terrorists when they run the country – they used banditry all their lives and know no other means. Hard work is for whites and other political factions not for zanupf. So it’s easy come and they don’t have a clue as to what it takes to make a success. Lets look at Gono he stole millions from the reserve bank and all he’s got is his chicken farm incidentally not directly day to day managed by him . Mugabe claims that a success! Well sorry it’s stolen property and laundered money. We can go through each minister and find the same story. There aren’t any who can say they’ve done a full days hard work since 1975. The biggest issue is that the extent of the corruption is so vast that only a full change in government and the police and army will resolve the issue. Every single person found guilty should have all their assets stripped and should be charged with treason. That includes all the relatives. The fact that Zimbabwe has gone over to the US dollar means that every criminal gang in the world will use the country and its corrupt so called elders to launder their money. That the real reason why china doesn’t want to bank roll zanupf because it too will become embroiled in the money laundering. And any bank or institution lending money be warned for you too will become part of this criminal gang so called government of Zimbabwe. Millions by now have been siphoned off of the ordinary persons tax and savings to pay for this gangs lifestyles and overseas bank deposits.

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      Gomogranny 9 years ago

      Well said Mlimo and John Thomas. These people have the ethics of a leech….sucking blood is all they know and all they want.

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    Straight Shooter 9 years ago

    You voted for your Mwanawekumusha in 1980. You did not want Joshua Nkomo because he was not a Mwanawekumusha.

    So, please shut up and eat your Mwanawekumusha!!

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    Tsvangirai must have a lot of clout then, to be able to persuade all those in the business community to withdraw their cash from the banks leading to the present economic debacle.

    No mention of the looting thats gone viral in our country and the gross ineptitude exhibited by these people in everything they have touched.

    Sounds like its blame Morgan for every ill in Zim right now.
    What a sorry mess we are.

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    Don Cox 9 years ago

    One of Zimbabwe’s biggest problems is its resources. Without diamonds, gold, and other valuables coming free from the earth, people in the government would have had less to loot.

    The diamonds particularly have made all the crooks think that they will never have to work for a living.

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    Petal 9 years ago

    They have not given a STUFF about the people look at the suffering Orphans from all the communities they dont give a s…

    All Bob cares about is Disgraces Shopping Sprees!
    can imagine the scenario that takes place between them:-

    Bob:- Darling Disgrace where would you like to shop tomorrow the choice is yours:!!:
    Hong Kong
    Disgrace: As you know that i can no longer shop at Harrods my favourite shop in London as i am under sanctions I will spend about a week ineach place and as well when you travel for your health care in Singapore i will be going too!

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    Petal 9 years ago

    The slate has to be wiped clean full stop of all these THIEVING BUFFOONS

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    Petal 9 years ago

    This Idiot Buffoon does not even get treatment in his own Country that he is YELLING AT THE TOP OF HIS VOICE “ZIMBABWE IS MINE”

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    Straight Shooter 9 years ago

    You tribally and arrogantly voted for your Mwanawekumusha in 1980. You did not want Joshua Nkomo because he was not a Mwanawekumusha.

    So, please shut up and eat your Mwanawekumusha!!

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      J Nkomo tried to go to bed with Smith in ’75 until it backfired horribly on him and his ZAPU.

      Now, who in their right minds would choose such a one?

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    Matake 9 years ago

    How long is a piece of string, Zanu must be given the longest rope to hang themselves with. No use fighting them, they want slightest of excuse to masacre people. These are satanic people, we are not wrestling flesh and blood but spiritual wickedness in high places. Always at the Vatican, doing what? Getting special honours, for what?! The Rhodesian farmer’s biggest sin was prospering as protestants, Jesuits will not rest until Zim is broken beyond repair as they did Ethiopia and many other countries. This not a political issue, it’s spiritual, hence the mushrooming false prophets. Wake up Zim, the CIO oath derived from Jesuit oath..!

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    protestor 9 years ago

    Opportunists is what they are. Even some of these comrades neva went to war they were at school whilst others were in the bush only to come when things were poised for the better.

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    Tafadzwa 9 years ago

    It will never seize to amaze me, why in the face of such failure, some people will still vote for ZANU. Even if we say, the last election was stolen, there were still thousands who voted for ZANU. When will our people open their eyes ? How could our people after the experience of 2007-2008 still be wood wicked by ZANU promises of a 2 million jobs ?

    The expression, we got the government we deserve seems ironic but true. Why do we accept low standards ? It is tolerating low standards, when we put up with a dozen traffic roadblocks from Chitungwiza to Harare. Where in the world can one experience such treatment and still not complain ?

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      Straight Shooter 9 years ago

      You tribally and arrogantly voted for your Mwanawekumusha in 1980. You did not want Joshua Nkomo because he was not a Mwanawekumusha.

      Even today, you still continue with these Mwanawekumusha tendencies with the confused, tribalist party dictator Tsvangirayi; after which tomorrow you will once again start crying for help.

      So, please shut up and eat your Mwanawekumusha!!

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    Petal 9 years ago

    Bob must discuss with Disgrace how much are we depositing in our foreign bank accounts thats why his daughter could afford to go to a university abroad-cuckorookoo!. ??!! while there are children who cannot afford to go to a descent school or have dropped out for a reason like losing their parents???

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    Petal 9 years ago

    “The manufacturing industry has irretrievably collapsed. Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has been traversing the globe begging for funding, but always returning home empty handed.”
    Very interesting paragraph- doubt it very much on his travels he must do some shopping for himself – they live in VERY POSH HOTELS ABROAD not B&B’s!!
    The money they receive is never paid back- the country is over the eyeballs in debt but Bob and Disgrace are forever JETSETTING ?!. where are they getting the money to travel all the time? Does not seem to cut back on his LAVISH LIFESTYLE??!!

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    Petal 9 years ago

    Curious about the red scarve the Bufoon wears on his birthday and did a research and came up with the following:-

    Elementary students in mainland China are required to wear red scarf as a symbol young pioneers for the Party.)
    so in other words Bob is busy grooming children for his party????? under the guise of the 21st February Movement???? but in reality does not give a sh… about them Will not be surprised if he ever wakes up and tells everybody to don those silly grey suits and caps that the chinese once wore for MANY MANY years under that idiot Mao

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    Petal 9 years ago

    this is the following about that Mao
    who made his people run around in grey suits but behind closed doors he lived life to the full

    “Nobody can disagree that he was a cruel and authoritarian despot who murdered millions; even his successor, Deng Xiaoping, pronounced that he was at least 30 per cent wrong and guilty of ‘excesses’. “

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    MikeH 9 years ago


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    Patriotic 9 years ago

    Is this a serious question by the Editor? Everybody knows the answer to it.