Zanu PF now rural party: SA minister

HARARE - South Africa (SA)’s Higher Education minister Blade Nzimande has slammed President Robert Mugabe’s long-ruling Zanu PF, labelling it a “rural party”.

The general secretary of South African Communist Party (SACP) - an ally of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) - told a Cosatu meeting in Pretoria on Monday that Zanu PF had lost the largely black urban base after embarking on a controversial land repossession programme that brought the once prosperous southern African economy to its knees.

He said 93-year-old Mugabe seized white-owned commercial farms to resettle landless blacks, who had little or no experience in agriculture.

“Because iZanu PF essentially has lost the urban working class, has lost the middle classes, has lost the professionals, has lost many urban-based organisations, it’s become a rural party because of the mistakes they are making. Now ama comrades are denying that there is a problem,” he said.

The rural vote is the mainstay of support for Mugabe and Zanu PF, which liberated Zimbabwe from white minority rule in 1980 after fighting a guerrilla war.

Nzimande said urbanites — dominated by academics and professionals — have largely become “enemies” of Zanu PF.  

“When we went to Zimbabwe around 2000, i(the) SACP sent a delegation on a fact-finding mission when we were engaged with our Zanu PF comrades.

“Everybody was the enemy. I ZCTU (the largest labour federation Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions) was the enemy, ama professionals, ama academics, everybody.

“And then we said, how come comrades all these forces you say are enemies today were part of the victorious forces led by Zanu PF on the victory of your struggle in 1980? What has changed?” Nzimande said.

Mugabe says the land seizures were part of an ambitious black empowerment drive and sought to correct colonial injustices that left 70 percent of the best farmland in the hands of whites.

The long-time ruler — raring to stand in Zimbabwe’s 2018 election when he turns 94 — blames Zimbabwe’s economic woes on Western-imposed sanctions.

Nzimande warned that “i (the) danger (is) once ama liberation movements begin to lose power or sense that they are beginning to lose power, they start doing a lot of funny things. Yes”.

“The first thing, they start coming up with radical concepts esingazazi ukuthi zivela ngaphi (which we have no idea where they are coming from),” he said.

His remarks come amid a push in SA to amend its laws to allow expropriation of land without compensation for owners, as it tries to speed up the redistribution of land to its black majority.

“UMugabe lost i referendum and started radical land reform. Wathathi umhlaba (He seized land) anyhow. And the next thing, if they don’t succeed, they unleash the security forces on the population. And we must not think that we are immune to that,” Nzimande said.

Comments (8)

ZANU PF is not a rural party, it is nobody's party. The rural folk are intimidated and coerced to support ZANU PF.Talk to any rural person in private and hear what they have to say about Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF.We have had enough- ALL of us, urban and rural!!

Jonso - 31 May 2017

Of course, it has always been Zanu RF. A party of people that went to war to fight for freedom which they deny to the rural people, 37 years later. It's up to the rural folk to free themselves

Sagitarr - 31 May 2017

I agree with Nzimande even though he don't have enough information about the situation in our country.He is saying the people who have enough knowledge &wise enough to know what's right or wrong are no longer supporting Mugabe unless they are benefiting from his madness.Everywere in Zimbabwe people are being forced to support zany but those who are in urban areas knows exactly what went wrong,in rural areas most of them doesn't have a clue,,as long as they get gifts they are ok intimidated or not they don't know what they doing.South Africa is blessed at least the situation is far much better than ours.They are learning from our mistakes.

Matsotsi - 31 May 2017

Uyu murume anefesi inenge yaTsvangison haanyatsoiziva Zanu PF. Rural party? Unopenga iwe.

Ndouraiwa Trayison - 31 May 2017

Yes please mr Nzimande you are spot on and you are one of the few politicians who has said that it correctly. I bet you continue telling it as it is and so prevent the same situation that happened in zimbabwe to happen in south africa. for sure why is everyone all of a sudden an enermy. an opposition party is an opposition party not an enermy

Gheor - 31 May 2017

Zanu has lost all sense of leadership. To them leadership means coercion. If you don't agree with what they say you are considered a traitor. To them patriotism means doing everything by their book whether it is wrong you will be promoted for it. There is no wrong or right as long as you are one with them. The rural folk are now aware of their tactics and they still needed to be conscientised consistently. The end of Zanu is fast approaching

pride - 31 May 2017

Spot on, Dr Nzimande echoed my sentiments too. I engaged him at the University of South Africa with the current UNISA Chancellor-Thabo Mbeki regarding the mistakes made by liberation movements in Africa once they sense their grip on power, they embark on stupid things like taking land without compensation and those who will take the land lacks skills and knowledge to utilise that land optimal. This land issue is done for political mileage-thanks Dr Nzimande gor heeding our call as academics-with people like Dr Nzimande, Africa will prosper, let Mugabe take our call seriously. Mugabe failed us and destroyed our great Zimbabwe-time for him to leave office now and let visionary leaders take over.

Tackura - 31 May 2017

There is no one who can support Zanu Pf unless they are beneficiaries of its madness Matsotsi you are spot on

b - 1 June 2017

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