ON Sunday, a 25-member delegation of the ruling Zanu-PF party left for a tour of China where the Zimbabwean party officials will attend a 10-day workshop. The workshop is aimed at sharing political and economic ideas, running under the theme, “Party Building and Economic Development”.
Zimbabwe and China enjoy strong bilateral relations honed since the liberation struggle, in modern times. History suggests that contact between the two peoples — directly or indirectly — may have come much earlier, perhaps seven millennia ago.
Today, China stands out as an economic powerhouse, the second biggest economy in the world, and a geopolitical giant.
Its rapid development in the last 40 years has inspired many a developing country, fashioning itself as the exemplar of tenacity and discipline. The story of how a country moved from a backwater to a global leader is a good story to tell and it is true of China. Zimbabwe is aspiring to move from its current status where it has lost two decades of development and progress to achieve the Upper Middle-Income Status by 2030.
This is President Mnangagwa’s vision.
Taking a leaf from China is a logical thing, and this is why the ruling party’s visit to the Asian giant is an important step.
We are aware there have been similar visits before: Zimbabweans have been enchanted by the beauty and growth of China and taken note of the steps that the Chinese took to reach where they are now.
However, we have been glaringly short when it comes to implementing some key lessons from the vast, storied country. The culpable include public and private sectors, businesses, students and politicians. The latter are especially relevant. Zanu-PF’s sister organisation in China — the Communist Party of China — has done well as a governing party to drive the country on a new trajectory and to fashion and influence the dominant aspects of Chinese life. It is a hegemony. It will continue to lead China in the foreseeable future.
A key characteristic of the CPC is its ability to plan organisationally and economically, as it sets targets and cycles, including on leadership, that make it operate with clockwork efficiency.
In Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF remains the country’s biggest political party, but its hegemony has been under stress because of threats from the opposition and hostile foreign powers. This has led to the waste of 20 years.
However, under the leadership of President Mnangagwa, Zanu-PF is reforming and is likely to be the dominant political player in the country for years to come.
The good health of the revolutionary party is imperative for the country.
As the Zanu-PF cadres tour China they must have this in mind and learn as much as they can from their Chinese counterparts so that they can usefully abet President Mnangagwa’s vision for reform and economic growth.
Other key lessons that the touring party team must carry home and implement include dealing with corruption and ensuring party cohesion and discipline.
This should not be a holiday and we know that the Chinese will show Zanu-PF cadres a glimpse of their work ethic during the tour.