23 February 2018
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In the aftermath of Tsvangirai's death

Zim-PF implosion no surprise

14/02/2017 00:00:00
by Reason Wafawarova
ZimPF leader Joice Mujuru
Democracy and elections in Africa

THE political process that gave birth to Dr. Joice Mujuru’s Zim-PF project took place in a unique environment. The location of Zim-PF in the Zimbabwean political terrain is a result of where the party came from – in this case Zanu-PF. The territorial boundaries of Zim-PF are determined by the political culture from Zanu-PF.

Rugare Gumbo, Dydimus Mutasa, and Joice Mujuru are a collective product of the revolutionary political culture in Zanu-PF, and so is Claudious Makova, my very own homeboy, and Margaret Dongo. This is a DNA they cannot wash away.

It was always going to be hard for Zim-PF to wear the pretentious colours of liberal democrats just for the purposes of appearing to be different from Zanu-PF, in order to try and take over the mantle of client politics from the demising MDC.

Looking at a dancing Mujuru at Zim-PF rallies one gets the impression they are looking at someone from such liberation movements like the ANC, SWAPO or Zanu-PF (as is the case). Listening to her struggling to sell the brand of “builders” gives one the idea of a fish out of water. The sorry excuse for an ideology comes across as an empty borrowed idea from the world of idealism, vainly decorated with the usual sweet-nothings of Western style democracy as preached by thick accented African puppets.

It is a kind of democracy that is so easy to preach as a weapon against a declared enemy like Zanu-PF, yet so hard to practice on the part of the vociferous preachers themselves.

It has not taken that long for Mai Mujuru’s “Builders” to start attacking each other with shovels, bricks, mortar and all, so to speak. The same reasons that Mai Mujuru used to be called deputy dictator for when she was President Mugabe’s deputy are the same reasons she is being labeled a dictator in Zim-PF today, and the same reasons she used to give in denying this label are the same reasons she is giving to deny the same accusations today. Ironically she is labeling her adversaries Zanu-PF.

Margaret Dongo says Mai Mujuru wants to establish a one centre of power in Zim-PF, exactly the same way Dongo herself was once accused of doing when she was running ZUD, the party she founded in the nineties. Even Morgan Tsvangirai has not escaped this label in his democracy-obsessed political outfit, or whatever remains of it.

There are political cultural characteristics in the African political terrain that will never go away because one is pretending to be as democratic as a white man. All political activity gets shaped more by the characteristics of the African political culture more than by the ideals of imagined values from the far away West.


The political importance of the physical setting of Zimbabwe cannot be ignored. Zim-PF was never going to easily replace Zanu-PF after coming out of Zanu-PF. Zanu-PF has long standing grassroots support, and for anyone within Zim-PF to have thought that dismantling Zanu-PF from outside was going to be easy was being hopelessly simplistic.

Bikita West was as good a barometer as will be Mwenezi West, should whichever faction of Zim-PF choose to run in that upcoming by-election. A chip off the block cannot replace the volume of the mother tree without having to assume the full life cycle that the mother went through.

We have here cadres of a revolutionary party grouping to form a political party out of shared bitterness, out of shared loss of political privilege, and out of a sudden loss of social influence. These are not values that can sustain a permanent union, let alone a lasting ideology around which people can be mobilised. The builder mantra was always going to be meaningless without the revolutionary principles upon which Zanu-PF formulates its ideology.

Zanu-PF is a party that can somehow match its ideology to an ailing economy and be popular about it. Its land reclamation policy, its indigenisation policy, and lately ZimAsset are all examples of how Zanu-PF can effectively communicate its intentions even in a dying economy.

A party like Zim-PF cannot divorce itself from culpability in regards to our economic predicament; for as long its leadership comprises people likes Dr Mujuru and Dydimus Mutasa. Equally, it cannot convince many people of its capacity to be in a better position to fix the crisis, not by simply claiming to be mobilising “builders”.

To Zimbabwe it is a promise as empty as the long discredited promise of “change” from the MDC. Clearly the myth of “Gandanga rine chivindi” was busted in Bikita West, and suddenly Dr Mujuru became replaceable, with nonentity names like Ray Kaukonde being peddled around.

It is important for us all to remember that Mai Mujuru did not exactly magnify her merit to end up second in charge of Zanu-PF. Rather, Zanu-PF magnified her simplicity and created merit for her to assume that position in 2004. She was definitely not the last Vice President to benefit from such benevolence, but this piece is about the implosion of Mai Mujuru’s dance party, not about the revolutionary party as currently comprised.

Realism will inform us that we cannot lift the ideals of a no-poverty democracy in Switzerland and superimpose them on a poverty-stricken country like ours.
We hear those hankering for democratic values from the West saying the most important agenda for 2018 is a coalition against Zanu-PF.

Zanu-PF is an ideological party and can only be defeated ideologically, not by the coming together of reactionary forces. Mai Mujuru did more damage to Zanu-PF through her 2008 “bhora musango” project than she will ever do to the party from outside. Then, she was trusted with ideological identity, and that is why she still cherishes the idea of being idolised as a brave fighter (gandanga rine chivindi).

Zanu-PF has skillfully adjusted and adapted itself to be the party of an informalised urban economy, and simultaneously it continues to be the party of an agrarian economy in rural Zimbabwe.

The opposition keeps portraying itself as a grouping of many promises, preaching jobs and employment as used to be in a gone era. The era is as gone as to be alien to someone 20 years old, and that is what the opposition easily forgets in the euphoria of pretending to be demolishing Zanu-PF.

The social relations which develop in a particular place and which are related to the methods of producing goods and services provide a social setting for political activity. This is where Zanu-PF is outwitting its opponents. Zanu-PF is not only approaching people with attractive ideals of what will come after the vote, but mainly with what can be done in the prevailing hardships.

It is given that some of the programmes are highly questionable, if not irrational, but that is beside the point. The point is - here is a party that appears to be doing something about ameliorating the prevailing hardships – not just promising to end them after the demise of the incumbent President, or in some superficial “new Zimbabwe.”

There is, thus, a continuous interaction between the physical, social and political. The physical setting both affects and is affected by the social, as the social and political also affect both each other and the physical situation.

The individuals who make up a society in which a political system is set may be categorised according to race, tribes, wealth, economic ideology and even religion, but, really, there is more to the setting than what is often termed the social structure. In the social system there exists also the culture of the society. In our case ethnicity and ideology have proved to be somewhat important.

The individual members of the society will have certain values, beliefs and emotional attitudes which make up the culture, the community of which political attitudes are a part. Such social behaviour has its basis in the culture of a society and, similarly, political behaviour has its basis in the political culture.

A political culture is a pattern of individual values, beliefs and emotional attitudes.
Individual notions of what is right or wrong, good and bad in political affairs, together make up the value pattern—the pattern of norms, of what it is considered ought to be. In Zimbabwe nationalism is right, and puppet politics is wrong. That is very simple to understand.

If a political culture were merely the individual writ large, then one might speak of a completely homogeneous culture. However, it is more; it is a unique pattern of values and beliefs and emotional attitudes of a collection of individuals.

Political culture is not an overnight sloganeering phenomenon. It is an entrenched characteristic only found in established organisations like Zanu-PF and the ANC in South Africa.

The important political values and beliefs of a society are those which concern the political arrangements as a whole; particular institutions and policies of how they are produced and the place of the individual within the political process. At the general level the value placed by members on the total political unit—the nation in a nation-State – is especially significant.

The value placed on the overall political unit and other units, such as the tribe, the region, even the village is reflected in a hierarchy of loyalties and depending on the placing of units in the hierarchy, nationalism or particularism will predominate.
Zanu-PF kind of monopolises symbols important to political beliefs; like the flag, national anthem, liberation history and so on. This has an impact on public opinion, and the opposition does not realise.

The EFF is falling in the same trap of losing the values war to the ruling ANC in South Africa; although the radical movement seems way wiser than our local opposition. They are mainly pre-occupied with the agenda of pulling the carpet from under the feet of the ANC, preaching louder the message that was slowly dying in the revolutionary liberation movement.

Zim-PF will not survive the tough Zimbabwe political terrain any more than Edgar Tekere’s Zum did in the early nineties, and the fastest way to demise would be the much preached about coalition with Tsvangirai’s equally dying political outfit, together with other parties of hopelessness.

Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!

REASON WAFAWAROVA is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia.

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