THE Communist Party of China (CPC) has pledged to help out Zanu PF with resource mobilisation as well as cadre training in a move largely seen as designed to rescue the ruling party — which has been weakened by years of increasingly vicious succession fights and economic turmoil — win the 2018 general elections. China has always supported Zanu PF since the liberation struggle days in the 1960s and 1970s mainly for its own interest.
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa disclosed the new form cooperation between the two parties in an interview with China Central Television-Africa (CCTV) last week.
The CPC has a close relationship with Zanu PF dating back to the liberation struggle when the Asian country assisted liberation fighters with training and military equipment. It helped Zanu PF controversially win the 2013 elections.
In recent years, Chinese companies have been awarded lucrative contracts in mining and infrastructural development. Government officials told the Zimbabwe Independent this week the Chinese were keen to protect their interests and would prefer a Zanu PF win in 2018 for security and continuity purposes.
Mnangagwa said the latest cooperation between Zimbabwe and China would further strengthen political and economic ties between the two countries.
“The specific purpose of the visit is as a result of an invitation by my counterpart, the vice-president of both the state as well as the Communist Party of China to promote, deepen and strengthen our party to party relationship. That is the relationship between Zanu PF and Communist Party of China,” said Mnangagwa.
“But most importantly we have upgraded cooperation between the two political parties so that as Zanu PF we benefit in various areas of cadre training as well as support in developing and resourcing our activities in the party.”
Mnangagwa said Zanu PF and the CPC had agreed on exchange programmes both in the women’s and youth leagues.
“The Communist Party of China will support us in building schools where we will train our staff in running the party and some of the workshops will be held here in the People’s Republic of China.”
The CPC has many party schools dotted around China. They provide political training and ideological indoctrination to gifted, promising and rising party cadres. The ideological schools also publish theoretical magazines and study developments throughout the world.
The party believes its ideology should be dynamic to safeguard its rule.
The CPC has been playing a subtle role to prop up Zanu PF in elections for some time, including in the 2013 general elections.
Ahead of the 2013 elections, Zanu PF provincial chairperson went to China where among other things they were taught mass mobilisation tactics. In addition, China helped Zanu PF with campaign material, including T-shirts and other paraphernalia.
Zanu PF officials also received extensive training from CPC on how to control the social media and censor methods of communication to maintain its hold on information and power. Shortly after the elections, Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo, then party chairman, commended a visiting delegation from the CPC for assisting Zanu PF in its electoral preparations which saw the party win a two thirds majority in parliament, amid rigging and systematic voter disenfranchisement allegations.
Recently a United States Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organisations, during a hearing on Zimbabwe, expressed concern about allegations China was building a military base in eastern Zimbabwe.
Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi has denied the allegations.