Zanu PF primaries: Behold democracy in motion!

02 Apr, 2023 - 00:04 0 Views
Zanu PF primaries: Behold democracy in motion!

The Sunday Mail

President E.D. Mnangagwa

Our party primary elections

FOR two days towards the end of last month, our Party, the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front, ZANU PF, held its primary elections. Primary elections are an exercise in internal party democracy, where the Party faithful use the ballot to freely choose candidates who represent our Party at municipal, parliamentary and senatorial levels in the forthcoming Harmonised Elections.

The Presidential candidate for the Party is elected at our Congress, which we held last year. I am humbled to have been unanimously chosen to represent ZANU PF at that echelon, in these impending Harmonised Elections, which the national Constitution enjoins us to hold later in the year.

The Party primary elections were, thus, meant to complete the selection process for our candidates at the remaining levels.

Today, ZANU PF can lay credible claim to being the author, example, keeper and guardian of democracy in a free, post-colonial Zimbabwe. We fought and sacrificed for that democracy we all now cherish

Peaceful polls throughout

By and large, the elections proceeded smoothly, and in a spirit of admirable competitive camaraderie. No serious incidents were reported throughout the country, again confirming that our Party has come of age, and practises the peace it routinely preaches. What we faced were small hitches of a logistical nature. These were understandable, and not serious enough to take away or diminish the integrity of the whole exercise.

Huge turnout

The turnout was striking. Millions came out in support of their preferred candidates from a broad selection in which all demographics were represented. This was truly unprecedented, not only in our Party’s long political and electoral history, but also in the history of party politics and internal political party processes in our country. History was made, and who else to blaze the new internal democratic trail than ZANU PF, the sole Party of national liberation?

Appeal across demographics

History also in another far-reaching sense. From start to finish, and in all areas, we saw a healthy balance and blend between mature and young cadres; between experience and growth; between professionals and businessmen and women; between men and women, all canvassing and vying for support to represent the Party at different echelons, and in different communities. For us in leadership, much of this had been in evidence when, much earlier, our Politburo sat to consider the long, congested list of aspiring candidates, ahead of these historic Party primaries.

Intense internal competition

We were all struck by the preponderance of youthful cadres among the aspiring candidates, and the intensity of competition for any one level and seat. Only a handful of seats went uncontested.

All these developments convinced us that the Party has vastly improved on its national, inter-generational and demographic appeal, largely because of its forward-looking, people-, youth- and gender-focused policies. Such a pleasant surprise gave us confidence that our Party, ZANU PF, is guaranteed to self-reproduce; is here to stay and forever to govern!

Giving democracy unfettered play

At the Politburo meeting preceding these primary elections, we took the progressive view that internal Party democracy had to be given free, unfettered play. Our people had to be left to exercise their choice and preferences, without undue influence.

Consequently, almost all those who had indicated a wish to compete to represent our Party in the forthcoming harmonised elections were cleared for the primary elections.

Who were we to abridge freedoms enshrined in our Party Constitution, which entitle every member to aspire and to compete for any post? Who were we to block nominees coming from our grassroots structures? We unanimously said let the people, who are the true and real owners of the Party, decide.

Taking a position against political violence

There may have been a handful of cases we disallowed, but only on grounds related to failure to uphold Party discipline, and, as an expression of our distaste for, and abhorrence of political violence by whomsoever. As the highest administrative Organ of the Party, it behoved us as the Politburo to send a clear signal against indiscipline; against putting the Party into disrepute and, above all, against any urge or appetite for political violence. These are cardinal ethics against which we dare not offend.

We have the onerous obligation and responsibility to set example on non-violence in the Party and in the country, and to send a clear, undiluted message against any such acts of political violence. This we did, without fear or favour. This we continue to do as we review results which those party primaries yielded.

Any instances of infractions against core values and expectations of our Party automatically lead to disqualification, which then triggers internal by-elections. Such a stance puts us in very strong stead to preach, and, in turn, to demand non-violence from all players in the forthcoming national plebiscite, which we insist must unfold in total peace and harmony: before, during and long after.

Pervasive energy in the Party

The massive, cross-cutting disciplined zeal exhibited during our Party primaries clearly shows we are well on the road to a resounding victory in the forthcoming elections. It demonstrated that we have solid structures with integrity on the ground; indeed, structures which carry and deliver our voters to the polls on election day.

Above all, it shows a massive confidence in our Party, principally in the policies and programmes which the Party has pursued in the last five years, which we are about to close. Much has been achieved on the ground: in communities, in districts, provinces and across our entire Nation.

Enormous strides have been made

We are now food-secure, thanks to massive agricultural support and effort we have deployed over those five years. We are building roads, dams, power projects, border posts, schools, hospitals, clinics and residential homes for our people, right across the country.

At grassroots levels, our people are determining their own priorities, thanks to our policy on Decentralisation and Devolution.

We continue to deliver clean water to families, principally those in hitherto neglected rural areas.

Pillar sectors of the economy, namely agriculture, mining, manufacturing and tourism, are all on the rebound, and continue on a growth trajectory. Employment is being created, thanks to stellar projects in the mining and manufacturing sectors, some of which we launch almost weekly. All this, quite naturally, redound to our Party, creating this pervasive sense of energy we have seen on display during our Party primaries.

Authors and guardians of democracy

Today, ZANU PF can lay credible claim to being the author, example, keeper and guardian of democracy in a free, post-colonial Zimbabwe. We fought and sacrificed for that democracy we all now cherish. Through a painful liberation struggle, we ushered in one person, one vote; entrenched it so it stays forever.

No other party did that. Ever since our War of Liberation and ZANU PF’s ascension to power, we have timeously held elections when they are due; that tradition and discipline is and must remain securely guaranteed, now and in the future. Our primary elections showed that with will and strong Party leadership, all our people can vote in peace, thereby delivering a clean, free, fair and non-violent poll. We aim for no less in the forthcoming national elections.

Our own teacher on democracy

Our sights are set higher: to show the world and especially censorious countries of the West that Zimbabwe is a self-made African democracy. It owes its democracy to itself; it, therefore, does not need tutors or lessons in democracy delivered by those coming to us from afar.

It is its own teacher, its own model, the sole guardian and guarantor of its own democratic processes and practices. Indeed, the writer of its own history in clean, democratic electoral praxis.

What our Party primary elections have demonstrated and accomplished finds few equals, and certainly no better rivals in the country, or elsewhere in the world.

Honest and fair-minded watchers of our recent internal democratic processes might be forgiven for thinking this was the real national election! In a way it is, given our dominant role in history, and in the contemporary politics of Zimbabwe and Africa.


Going forward, and as a country and Nation which is proudly African and sovereign, we shall be insisting on the principle of reciprocity when it comes to the practice of international election observation. The time will soon come when we will not accept that condescending and even racist view of a pecking order when it comes to measuring electoral democracy unfolding in our sovereign countries, and which, in any event, is meant for our people.

A pecking order with white super-dogs who must observe elections of lesser beings, on the one side; and black underdogs whose polls must be observed, passed or failed, on the other.

Nothing about our chequered colonial history justifies that false hierarchy; nothing in present international rules legitimises that presumptuous supremacy. The theory and practice of election observation must be on the basis of equality and reciprocity among nations. Anything less and one-sided diminishes and creates a deep sense of bruise and injury to our sovereignty.

Zimbabwe is not an NGO

Much worse, we reject as utterly racist and condescending this practice of making our proud and sovereign Nation an equal if not a junior of some Western non-governmental centre, institute or foundation. We are no one’s subaltern, least of all of some non-governmental organisation. Never again will we subject ourselves to such false, humiliating equivalences.

We go to elections as sovereign nations, indeed as State Parties of the United Nations; its hallowed Charter makes all Nations equal, regardless of size and age, however these are reckoned or claimed. State Parties relate to each and to one another on equal terms, with respect, and strictly on the basis and principle of reciprocity. Going forward, only those Nations who invite us to observe their own elections in future will also be invited to do the same here.

Aiming for thunderous victory

Well done ZANU PF, the Party of National Liberation and National Defence! After our Party primaries, a strong sense of total loyalty and devotion to the Party must prevail in all our structures, between and among all our members; we aim to deliver a thunderous victory which guarantees that we govern for another five years, while giving notice on more terms to come.

Iwe neni tine basa, uye nyika inotongwa nekuvakwa nevene vayo.


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