Zimbabwe African People's Union

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Zimbabwe African People's Union
Abbreviation ZAPU
Leader Dumiso Dabengwa
Chairperson Benny Ncube
Founded 17 December 1961 (historic)
8 November 2008 (8 November 2008) (current)
Headquarters Bulawayo
Youth wing ZAPU YOUTH
Armed wing ZIPRA
Ideology Socialism
Left-wing nationalism
Political position Left-wing
House of Assembly
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Pan African Parliament
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Party flag
Zimbabwe African People's Union flag.png

The Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) is a Zimbabwean political party. It was a militant organization and political party that campaigned for majority rule in Rhodesia, from its founding in 1961 until 1980. This socialist party is most dominant, save for the democratic and republican parties. In 1987, it merged with the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU - PF)[1] and was relaunched in 2008.

The party was formed on 17 December 1961, 10 days after the Rhodesian government banned the National Democratic Party (NDP). Founded by Joshua Nkomo[2] as president, Tichafa Samuel Parirenyatwa as vice-president, Ndabaningi Sithole as chairman, Jason Moyo, Robert Mugabe as information and publicity secretary, Leopold Takawira as external secretary. At the request of Joseph Msika, ZAPU was banned in 1962 by the Rhodesian white minority government, and was later engaged in a guerrilla war against it. The armed wing of ZAPU, known as Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA), was commanded by General Lookout Masuku.

ZAPU was aligned with the Soviet Union whose ideology was to mobilize the urban workers, whereas ZANU had a pro-People's Republic of China orientation which was to mobilize the rural peasantry.

Unification into ZANU-PF[edit]

In 1980, it contested elections in Zimbabwe as the Patriotic Front, but lost to its rival the ZANU. They merged into ZANU–PF in 1987 following the Gukurahundi massacres.

Unity Accord[edit]

The Unity Accord signed at that meeting stated:

  1. That ZANU - PF and PF ZAPU have irrevocably committed themselves to unite under one political party.
  2. That the unity of the two political parties; shall be achieved under the name Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) in short ZANU - PF.
  3. That Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe shall be the First Secretary and President of ZANU PF.
  4. That ZANU PF shall have two Second Secretaries and Vice-Presidents, who shall be appointed by the First Secretary and President of the Party.
  5. That ZANU PF shall seek to establish a socialist society in Zimbabwe on the guidance of Marxism–Leninism principles.
  6. That ZANU PF shall seek to establish a One Party State in Zimbabwe.
  7. That the leadership of ZANU - PF shall abide by the Leadership Code.
  8. That the existing structures of ZANU - PF and PF ZAPU shall be merged in accordance with the letter and spirit of this Agreement.
  9. That both parties shall, in the interim, take immediate vigorous steps to eliminate and end the insecurity and violence prevalent in Matabeleland.
  10. That ZANU - PF and PF ZAPU shall convene their respective Congress to give effect to this Agreement within the shortest possible time.
  11. That, in the interim, Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe is vested with full powers to prepare for the implementation of this Agreement and to act in the name and authority of ZANU - PF.

2008 Withdrawal from Unity Accord[edit]

Under the influence of Benny Ncube and Dumiso Dabengwa in mid-October 2008, in the midst of the ongoing negotiations with rival parties, a group of former PF ZAPU and Zipra members became outspoken in the desire to dissolve the alliance with ZANU - PF. According to the website, the members convened a meeting on 8 November 2008, and it was decided:[3]

  1. That the political structure of ZAPU cease to operate under the title ZANU - PF and to resume the title ZAPU.
  2. That all party structures operate under the authority of the Constitution of ZAPU.
  3. That the District Councils should meet to prepare for and convene a Consultative Conference consisting of the ten Provinces by December 2008, for the purpose of electing an Interim Executive charged with the responsibility to mobilise and restructure the party and convene the party Congress by March 2009, in terms of Article 6 of the constitution of ZAPU.
  4. That a campaign to mobilise resources in the country, from well-wishers everywhere, from fraternal political parties and International Organisations be undertaken forthwith.
  5. To engage as necessary in the negotiations and peace building initiatives to emeliorate the political and economic hardships presently being endured by the people of Zimbabwe.
  6. To convene a consultative Conference consisting of all the ten political Provinces by December 2008 for the purpose of electing an Interim Executive, charged to mobilise and restructure the party and convene the Party's Congress by March 2009, in terms of Article 6 of the Constitution of ZAPU.
  7. THIS IS DONE AND AGREED TO by us the delegates to the Consultative Meeting at Stanley Square, Bulawayo on 8 November 2008.


This resulted in a party-internal controversy which culminated in an official severing of ties with ZANU-PF in December 2008.


Ex-ZIPRA cadres officially withdrew their membership from the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association which is under the administration of ZANU PF.They moved on to revive ZIPRA with the interim executive of the association being led by Benny Ncube as chairperson, Tapson Moyo as vice chairperson, Petros Sibanda as secretary, Job Ndlovu as deputy secretary, Belinda Ndebele as treasurer, and committee members are Stanley Ncube and Clement Malaba Ncube. The committee's mandate is to set up the association's structures in provinces and districts in preparation for the inaugural congress where the substantive executive will be elected.The association will function in close association with the mother party ZAPU.

ZAPU National Consultative Convention[edit]

At the party conference, the ZAPU National Consultative Convention, held from the 13th to the 14 December 2008, Dumiso Dabengwa, a former Home Affairs minister was elected interim chairperson with the mandate to convene a two-day congress starting the 11 April 2009. The congress would formally endorse the pullout from ZANU and elect an executive for the party. The convention took place at MacDonald's Hall in Mzilikazi suburb in Bulawayo.[5]

Party Congress of 2009[edit]

The party congress of 2009 which was supposed to elect new leadership took place a month later that scheduled, on the 16 May 2009.[6] The congress formally endorsed the party's withdrawal from ZANU PF. The party announced that it had officially cut ties with ZANU PF and had withdrawn support for its former members who had chosen to remain in ZANU. The congress was attended by delegates from the country's 10 provinces as well as representatives from Canada, South Africa, Botswana, and Swaziland.[7]

9th Party Congress 2010[edit]

A full Congress was held at the Bulawayo Trade Fair in August 2010 ,at which a full policy was agreed and a substantive leadership elected with Dumiso Dabengwa as President and Emilia Mukaratirwa as Vice-President.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sibanda, Eliakim M. The Zimbabwe African People's Union, 1961–87: A Political History of Insurgency in Southern Rhodesia. Page 1
  2. ^ "Joshua Nkomo | Zimbabwean political leader". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-11-27. 
  3. ^ "Zimbabwe African Peoples Union". ZAPU. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  4. ^ Allafrica.com
  5. ^ "ZAPU Conference, December 2008". Zapu.org. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  6. ^ "ZAPU congress votes to withdraw from Zanu PF". Newzimbabwe.com. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  7. ^ "ZAPU congress endorses withdrawal". Thezimbabwetimes.com. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 

External links[edit]