|“||Unity, peace and development.||„|
|~ The ZANU-PF motto.|
The Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front is a political organization which has been the ruling party of Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. The party was led for many years under Robert Mugabe, first as Prime Minister with the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and then as President from 1987 after the merger with the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) and retaining the name ZANU–PF, until 2017, when he was removed as leader. Currently the leader of the ZANU-PF is Emmerson Mnangagwa, the incumbent President of Zimbabwe.
At the 2008 parliamentary election, the ZANU–PF lost sole control of parliament for the first time in party history and brokered a difficult power-sharing deal with the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC), but subsequently won the 2013 election and gained a two-thirds majority.
On 19 November 2017, ZANU-PF sacked Robert Mugabe as party leader, who resigned two days later, and appointed former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in his place.
ZANU was founded by Ndabaningi Sithole, Henry Hamadziripi, Mukudzei Midzi, Herbert Chitepo, Edgar Tekere, and Leopold Takawira at the house of former Defence Minister Enos Nkala in Highfield in August 1963.
The Patriotic Front (PF) was formed as a political and military alliance between ZAPU and ZANU during the war against white minority rule in Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe). The PF included the Soviet Union-backed ZAPU, which was led by Joshua Nkomo and operated mainly from Zambia, and the Chinese-backed ZANU led by Robert Mugabe, which operated mainly from neighbouring Mozambique. Both movements contributed to their respective military forces. ZAPU's military wing was known as the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) and ZANU's guerrillas were known as the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army. The objective of the PF was to overthrow the predominantly white minority government, headed by the Prime Minister Ian Smith, through political pressure and military force.
Their common goal was achieved in 1980, following the Lancaster House Agreement of December 1979, when the United Kingdom granted independence to Zimbabwe following a brief period of direct British control. During the 1980 general election campaign, the PF parties competed separately as ZANU–Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) and Patriotic Front–ZAPU (PF–ZAPU). The election was won by Mugabe and ZANU–PF, with Nkomo and his PF–ZAPU retaining a stronghold in the provinces of Matabeleland.
In December 1981, agents of South Africa's Apartheid government bombed party headquarters, nearly killing many senior ZANU–PF leaders, including Robert Mugabe.
In December 1987, after five years of the low-level civil war known as Gukurahundi, the opposition ZAPU, led by Nkomo, was absorbed through the Unity Accord with ZANU to form an official ZANU–PF.
The ZANU-PF have shown villainous traits in pushing Mugabe's racist policies against whites in Zimbabwe; particularly during Mugabe's land reform campaigns. Mugabe pursued a more left-wing populist policy on the issue of land redistribution in 2000s, encouraging seizure of commercial farms—usually owned by Zimbabwe's white minority—"for the benefit of landless black peasants."The inauguration speech of President Mnangagwa threw this program's support into question since he said that the "government is committed to work on a compensation plan for former land owners." The compulsory acquisition of commercial farmland without compensation was discontinued in early 2018.
They were also responsible for the Gukurahundi, a series of ethnic massacres and pogroms carried out against Zimbabwe's Ndebele population from 1983 to 1987 as a way of silencing dissidents. Those who weren't killed were imprisoned in concentration camps. The massacres have been classified as a genocide by the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), who have estimated that more than 20,000 people were killed.
Despite Robert Mugabe's removal from power, the conditions in Zimbabwe under the ZANU-PF government have changed very little. Millions are again on the brink of starvation. The economy is once again in free fall: inflation is running at 175 percent; fuel prices have increased almost 500 percent since the beginning of the year, resulting in protests on January 2020; there are widespread shortages of electricity and water; and the national cell phone company is about to collapse. The army has been sent in to deal with those who protest, leaving more than a dozen dead.