From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front
Abbreviation ZANU-PF
Chairman Simon Khaya-Moyo
Spokesperson Rugare Gumbo
Founder Robert Mugabe
Simon Muzenda
President and First Secretary Robert Mugabe
Slogan "Unity, peace, and development"[1]
Founded 22 December 1987 (1987-12-22)
Merger of ZANU and ZAPU
Headquarters Harare, Zimbabwe
Youth wing ZANU-PF Youth League
Women's wing ZANU-PF Women's League
Ideology African nationalism,
Democratic socialism
Political position Left-wing
African affiliation Former Liberation Movements of SA
Colours Green, yellow
House of Assembly
197 / 270
57 / 80
0 / 5
Pan-African Parliament
0 / 5
Election symbol
Jongwe (Crowing Cockerel)
Party flag
Flag of ZANU
Politics of Zimbabwe
Political parties

The Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) has been the ruling party in Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, led by Robert Mugabe, first as Prime Minister with the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), and then as President from 1988 after merger with the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) and retaining the name ZANU-PF. In the 2008 parliamentary election the ZANU-PF lost sole control of parliament for the first time in party history, and brokered a difficult power-sharing deal with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Zimbabwe African National Union[edit]

ZANU was founded by Ndabaningi Sithole, Henry Hamadziripi, Mukudzei Midzi, Herbert Chitepo, Edgar Tekere and Leopold Takawira at the house of former Defence Minister Enos Nkala in Highfield in August 1963.[2] The minority Ndau followed Sithole into the moderate Zanu (Ndonga) party (known later as ZANU Mwenje), who renounced violent struggle, while the majority Shona followed Mugabe's ZANU with a more militant agenda.

During the 1980 independence elections, ZANU allied itself with ZAP in the Patriotic Front (PF), the two parties adopting the names ZANU-PF and PF-ZAPU respectively, but they split after achieving majority rule.

In December 1987, after five years of low-level civil war termed Gukurahundi, the opposition ZAPU, led by Joshua Nkomo, was absorbed through the unity accord into ZANU-PF,[3] in what was seen as a step towards a one-party state.[citation needed]

Patriotic Front (PF)[edit]

The Patriotic Front (PF) was originally formed in 1976 as a political and military alliance between ZAPU and ZANU during the war against white minority rule in Zimbabwe (then called Rhodesia). The Patriotic Front included ZAPU led by Joshua Nkomo operating mainly from Zambia, and ZANU led by Robert Mugabe and operated mainly from neighbouring Mozambique. Both movements contributed their respective military forces: ZAPU's military wing was known as Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) and ZANU's guerrillas were known as Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA). The objective of the Patriotic Front was to overthrow the white minority regime of Ian Smith by means of political pressure and military force.[4]

Their common goal was achieved in 1980 with the formal independence of Zimbabwe. During the 1980 election campaign the Patriotic Front alliance partners split into their respective factions and competed separately as ZANU-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and Patriotic Front-ZAPU (ZAPU-PF). The election was won by Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF, with Joshua Nkomo and his PF-ZAPU retaining a stronghold in the provinces of Matabeleland.[4]


Officially, ZANU-PF is socialist in ideology, and is modelled on communist parties in other countries. The party maintains a politburo and a Central Committee.[5][6]

Land redistribution[edit]

Mugabe has since pursued a more populist approach on the issue of land redistribution: encouraging seizure of large farms—usually owned by members of the white minority—"for the benefit of landless black peasants." Critics of this policy argue that it is to maintain his grip on power as supporters of his government directly benefit from their personal gains of land redistribution far more than the landless population.[7]


Mugabe has also faced a major political challenge from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Mugabe won 56.0% at the presidential elections of 9 – 11 March 2002.

At the December 2004 five-year conference, Joice Mujuru, a Zezeru Shona like Mugabe and whose late husband Solomon Mujuru was the retired head of the armed forces, was elevated to the post of vice-president of the party (the first woman to hold that office) at the expense of contender Emmerson Mnangagwa and his backers, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and information minister Jonathan Moyo.[8]

The 2005 Zimbabwe parliamentary elections were held on 31 March 2005. The party won 59.6% of the popular vote and 78 out of 120 elected seats. Later that year, 26 November, it won 43 of 50 elected senators. The parliamentary election was disputed as being unfair. The leader of the opposition MDC party said, "We are deeply disturbed by the fraudulent activities we have unearthed", and various human rights groups reported that hundreds of thousands of "ghost voters" had appeared on the electoral roll of 5.8 million people.[9]

In the 2008 parliamentary election, the ZANU-PF lost its majority in parliament for the first time, holding 94 seats out of the expanded 210 seats, with Sokwanele stating that this figure would have been lower had it not been for gerrymandering, electoral fraud and widespread intimidation.[10]

In the 2008 presidential election, Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC candidate, received the most votes but did not receive an absolute majority, thus a runoff was necessary. Initial results led to MDC-T claiming the majority necessary. However, ballots were recounted at a National Command Centre over a period of several days without the presence of independent observers. The election process that followed was marred by more violence against and intimidation of voters and party workers. Morgan Tsvangirai initially stated he intended to contest the second round but pulled out of the run off saying a free and fair election was impossible in the current climate. The elections were held on 27 June with a single candidate, Robert Mugabe, who was reelected.

Many blame ZANU-PF for neglecting to deal with Zimbabwe's problem with the mounting 2008 Zimbabwean cholera outbreak, which by the start of December 2008 had already killed between 500 and 3,000 people.[11]

SADC facilitation of government power-sharing agreement, 15 September 2008[edit]

Former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki facilitated, under the auspices of Southern African Development Community (SADC), a Zimbabwean Government of Power-Sharing between ZANU-PF, the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic Change – Mutambara.

Split of re-organized ZAPU[edit]

In November 2008, a group of former ZAPU members, most of them hailing from Bulawayo, left ZANU-PF and re-established the ZAPU party:

  1. Former ZAPU members and Ndebele being left out in the discussions between the two Movement for Democratic Change formations and ZANU-PF.
  2. Unhappiness with the sacking of Dumiso Dabengwa from the politburo because he supported Simba Makoni in the 2008 presidential election.
  3. Lack of development in Bulawayo province, including the lack of progress on the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project.
  4. ZAPU cadres not considered for burial at the national heroes acre
  5. The issue of succession.[12]

Post-Mugabe Transition[edit]

In 2014 a battle among Vice President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, and possibly First Lady Grace Mugabe, began over the succession to Pres. Robert Mugabe. An elective congress was scheduled for December 2014, in which ZANU-PF would elect members to fill vacancies in the central committee, politburo, and presidium, and most likely endorse the party's next candidate for president. This congress, which takes place every five years, is the most important elective organ for the party.

Although Pres. Mugabe had not named a successor, Joice Mujuru was seen by many as the most likely candidate. She had support from both the politburo and the population at large (demonstrated by the election of her loyalists to the youth league). [13] Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa was supported by a smaller group composed mainly of senior members of the security establishment, part of ZANU-PF's parliamentary caucus, younger party members, and a few influential parts of the Zimbabwean business community. He had been with Mugabe since Zimbabwe gained independence and was regarded by many as a successor who could maintain stability after Mugabe leaves office. [14]


  1. ^ President should appoint VPs, chair
  2. ^ Sibanda, Eliakim (2005). The Zimbabwe African People's Union 1961–87: A Political History of Insurgency in Southern Rhodesia. Africa World Press. p. 321. ISBN 1-59221-275-1. 
  3. ^ ""Zimbabwean political flags" at FOTW". 
  4. ^ a b Martin, D and Johnson, P. (1981). The Struggle for Zimbabwe. Faber & Faber. p. 400. 
  5. ^ "Zanu-PF official site". 
  6. ^ "ZANU(PF) Central Committee Members". Library of Congress African Pamphlet Collection - Flickr. Retrieved 2014-05-11. 
  7. ^ "Power to the Mob". Time
  8. ^ "Mutasa blasts Mnangagwa". The Standard (Zimbabwe). 5 May 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Mugabe's party sweeps to victory. BBC News.
  10. ^ "Mugabe's Zanu-PF loses majority". BBC News. 3 April 2008. 
  11. ^ "Zimbabwe cholera death toll nears 500". CNN. 2 December 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2008. 
  12. ^ "Dabengwa speaks on Zapu's future, alliances". Bulawayo24 News. 17 January 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "We must all resign in December, says Mugabe". NewsdzeZimbabwe. 18 August 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  14. ^ International Crisis Group. "", 29 September 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2014.

External links[edit]