Zimbabwe African National Union–patriotic Front
- The Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) came into being in 1963 with the aim of freeing Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) from British colonial rule. From 1976 it worked alongside the Zimbabwe African Patriotic Union (ZAPU) as part of the Patriotic Front alliance to put pressure on its colonizers. They were victorious in their liberation fight, ensuring free elections in 1980 that allowed ZANU-PF (then just ZANU) to form the government and declare independence from the United Kingdom. Central to all this was the Marxist-influenced Robert Mugabe, party leader from 1976, prime minister from 1980 and president from 1987 following a merger with electoral rivals ZAPU that led to the words “Patriotic Front” being suffixed to ZANU’s name. Mugabe was reelected president of Zimbabwe in 1990, 1996 and 2002. ZANU-PF advocated Marxism–Leninism throughout its battle for liberation and into the formative years of its governing of the young Zimbabwe. Perhaps uniquely, despite this promotion of Marxism–Leninism, it strenuously denied being communist, and yet still modeled its party on the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Owing to a crippling economic downturn, by 1991 it had dropped its early Marxist rhetoric entirely, embracing free market economics with zest. In Mugabe’s words “we gave in on socialism and yielded to capitalism.” ZANUPF’s March 2005 election victory marked the beginning of its 25th successive year in power, in which time it has been transformed from a moderate Marxist party to a deeply controversial nationalist movement presiding over an economy in terminal decline.
Historical dictionary of Marxism. David Walker and Daniel Gray . 2014.
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