THREE former liberation movements in southern Africa are holding important political gatherings this year to map the way forward in this ever-changing political and socio-economic landscape.
Zimbabwe Independent Editorial
Swapo of Namibia is holding its congress this weekend with the land question topping the agenda as the party seeks effective ways of equitably allocating and sustainably managing the resource for the benefit of all Namibians.
The African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa holds its elective conference in Mangaung next month where leadership changes are set to be effected as the ruling party seeks to rejuvenate itself to counter the increasing electoral gains of the main opposition Democratic Alliance.
Back home, Zanu PF will gather for its annual conference at a brand new 5 000-seater conference centre built on disputed land to erect the massive structure outside Gweru on the Mvuma Road.
The only thing these three parties have in common is that they are former liberation movements. Their policies, objectives and operations are clearly different. While the leadership contestation seems to have caused chaos in the ANC, the leadership collective elected in Mangaung will quickly close ranks and work towards unity.
Disgruntled members have a platform to raise issues internally.
Although President Jacob Zuma’s allies have been accused of intimidating those believed to be opposed to his re-election, at least the party has an open process where branches actually nominate their preferred candidates.
ANC nominations come from each of the party’s over 4 000 branches.
Each branch makes nominations for the party’s top six officials, including the president and deputy, and the national executive committee as well as delegates to the conference.
Branch nominations are put in a sealed envelope and kept by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to be opened at the provincial conferences.
While intimidation may cow branches and influence nominations, they at least have the chance to rectify this at the national conference where voting is through secret ballot conducted by the IEC.
Several branches and NEC members have openly nominated Zuma’s deputy Kgalema Motlanthe to contest against his boss, and although he has not indicated whether or not he will stand, they continue to meet at cabinet meetings.
Not so with Zanu PF. The party has an authoritarian approach leaving no room for democracy as shown by events leading to next week’s Gweru conference. In Zanu PF, delegates are chosen by the leadership and politburo members are appointed by the presidium.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa have vehemently denied leading factions or harbouring presidential ambitions. Mnangagwa is even suing the media to prove he has no presidential ambitions.
Only the late former army commander General Solomon Mujuru, former politburo heavyweight Dumiso Dabengwa, Enos Nkala, the late Edison Zvobgo and Edgar Tekere stood up to Mugabe. Since their death or departure, there has been no attempt to challenge his autocracy. Zanu PF needs to democratise its internal processes to survive, or die.