ZANU PF congress and lessons from China

Beaven Dhliwayo

The 7th Zanu-PF National People’s Congress which ended in Harare at the weekend was attended by more than 3 500 delegates and ran under the theme, “Building a Prosperous Zimbabwe, Leaving No One and No Place Behind”.

The decisive congress drew delegates from sister revolutionary parties in the SADC region, the African continent, and beyond.

Ruling parties in attendance were Chama Cha Mapinduzi of Tanzania, Frelimo of Mozambique, South Africa’s African National Congress, People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola, South West Africa People’s Organisation of Namibia, Botswana Democratic Party, Malawi Congress Party and Burundi’s ruling party, the National Council for the Defence of Democracy — Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), among others.

Internationally, the democratic congress attracted delegates from the Communist Party of China, the Russian Conservative Political party, the Communist Party of Cuba, and the December 12 Movement from the United States.

Just like at the just-ended Communist Party of China congress, where President Xi Jinping was elected as the leader, ZANU PF also endorsed President Mnangagwa as the party’s sole Presidential candidate for the 2023 harmonized elections.

The declarations were conclusively made by the elective National Youth League, Women’s League, and the War Veterans League conferences that President Mnangagwa was the party’s sole Presidential candidate.

All the country’s 10 provinces also held their Provincial Coordinating Committees and, in the process, confirmed President Mnangagwa as the party’s only foot soldier for the Presidential race, further cementing the democratic processes within the ruling party.

More interestingly, apart from the politics, and in line with President Mnangagwa’s thrust of putting the economy first, a business expo was also conducted on the sidelines of the congress that capped elective conferences that were held this year which include the Women’s League, Youth League, and War Veterans League.

The party through the Department of Finance and Economic Development held a business expo on the side-lines of the congress.

Private and public companies were marketing their products at the congress.

For Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa, the just-ended CPC 20th National Congress is of significance not only because of the historic ties between our great nations but for Zimbabwe and Africa to learn the good lessons that have made the CPC one of the strongest parties under the sun.

The biggest takeaway that ZANU PF emulated was the emphasis by China’s Xi to adopt a strong continuity stance on everything from economic policy to diplomacy – despite increasing challenges and pressures on China.

Right now, Zimbabwe is under Western-imposed economic sanctions but as a nation, there is a need to soldier on and grow the economy as a nation and desist from pointing the blame on the sanctions.

In other words, the ruling party should see other opportunities presented by the damaging sanctions.

Another key lesson for the ruling ZANU PF is acknowledging the severe and complex international situation. Xi repeated the language from the seventh plenum last week that the past five years have been “extremely unusual and extraordinary.”

Despite the big changes coupled with the disruptive Covid-19 pandemic, the CPC overcame those difficulties to claim “historic victories,” including achieving a “moderately prosperous society” as of the CCP’s centennial in 2021 and eliminating extreme poverty.

Xi made it clear that unity is key to the continuity of a prosperous nation. ZANU PF should learn from the CPC stance for the next five years after next year’s general elections.

ZANU PF should unite and weed out factionalism. The task that lies ahead is to build Zimbabwe into a great modern socialist country in all respects and to advance the rejuvenation of the nation on all fronts through a Zimbabwe path to modernization.

Just like China, Zimbabwe should learn to live with slower economic growth.

Zimbabwe should learn from Xi who successfully shifted China’s economic model toward one based on domestic consumption and higher value-added products.

The slogan of “common prosperity” also appeared in Xi’s work report, which signaled a new focus on

reducing economic inequality, lessons that Zimbabwe should grasp and implement religiously.

The insistence on “high-quality development” goes along with the tacit acceptance that China is entering a period of slower economic growth, something the leadership seems willing to accept as long as individual households are still seeing their prosperity rise.

Xi continues to emphasize the need for a social safety net while also disparaging the idea of welfare as encouraging “laziness.” Instead, he is focused on increasing employment-based income.

Overall, Xi is more interested in security and stability than economic growth in and of itself – even China’s drive to cement a leadership position in high-tech fields is framed as a national security imperative, necessary to reduce reliance on foreign technology.

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