Zanu PF celebrates its 68th anniversary this year. Far away in China, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has just marked its centenary this month.
The two political parties have a lot in common. They enjoy an intimate friendship which began from their respective struggle for liberation.
Now, when Zimbabwe is striving towards a prosperous, upper middle-income society by 2030 and China towards its Long-Range Objectives through the Year 2035, a closer look at what the CPC has done in the past centenary and what it is going to do next could offer some inspirations for both countries.
What has the CPC done?
The 20th century witnessed the CPC taking on a mission of founding New China and delivering a better life to the people.
Growing the economy
In 1960, China’s per capita GDP was US$89 by 2019, it soared to over US$10 000. From 1978 to 2020, China’s economy grew by over 40 times at an annual rate of 9.2 percent on average, with the most complete industrial system in the world.
Eradicating absolute poverty
The CPC has succeeded in lifting 770 million people out of extreme poverty from 1978 to 2020, contributing over 70 percent of global poverty alleviation efforts. Under the leadership of CPC General-Secretary and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the government adopted a targeted approach and locally-tailored measures.
Wealthier provinces have been paired up to help the impoverished ones. Thanks to the relentless, nationwide efforts, absolute poverty has been eradicated in China by 2021.
Long-term stability hinges on not only fast development, but also the commitment to equity and justice.
China is a country with over 1,4 billion people. Any small challenge will become big when multiplied by 1,4 billion. President Xi Jinping has made it clear that no one will be left behind in pursuit of development.
Facing the impact of Covid-19, the CPC has, as always, put people and life first. It effectively coordinated Covid-19 response with economic and social development, and put life and work back to normalcy within a short span of time.
How did the CPC do it?
Putting the people first
The CPC represents the interests of the Chinese people. It is not a party of segmental interests or electoral politics.
The political game of “opposition for opposition’s sake” and endless partisan strife is thus avoided.
In handling challenges from economic and social issues, it proceeds from the overall and long-term interests of the Chinese people, makes resolute decisions and ensures that they deliver. Hence, it is able to maintain policy consistency, and make long-term, sustained investment.
Adapting political theories to the Chinese context
The CPC is able to fit imported political theories into Chinese realities and raise the idea that China should “blaze a path of our own and build a socialism with Chinese characteristics”.
All things considered, the CPC is different from the capitalist parties in the world. It is also different from the communist parties in other countries.
The party has bravely embraced self-reform, no matter how painful it is, and grows up by reforming itself every step of the way.
Since its 18th National Congress in 2012, the CPC has stepped up self-supervision, by taking steps to deter corruption, in both mindset and institution. A large number of corrupt officials, be they “tigers” or “flies”, have been brought to justice. This anti-corruption campaign has responded to the expectations of the people, and gained great popular support.
As many people would say in China, the CPC at 100 is still in its prime. It has realised its first centenary of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
And it is rallying and leading the Chinese people on a new journey toward realising the second centenary goal.
The Zanu PF at its 68 anniversary is also brimming with new vitality.
As a party of five million members and a people’s party committed to unity, peace and development, it is determined to take the country to new heights. As both the Zanu PF and the CPC are leading their respective countries forward, the two have much to do together. Apart from mutual learning on governance experience, the two parties could together seek greener and higher-quality development.
Yes, vaccine cooperation shall come on the top of the list. In addition, infrastructure connectivity, digital economy and green economy promise vast potential. The two parties will continue to render mutual support in international relations.
All in all, the two parties may learn from each other, benefit from cooperation, jointly promote the stature of the developing world, and forge ahead together toward the post-Covid era.
The author is a Beijing-based observer of international affairs.