All these maladies that President Xi pointed out in a brutally honest fashion are what is afflicting ruling parties in Africa


Wesley Mashambanhaka


Africa’s revolutionary parties – the traditional powerhouses that saw various countries, especially in Southern Africa win the war against colonialism – have been beset with problems that have become a threat to their rule.

Oftentimes the blame is on external forces – justifiably so, since Western nations that were defeated over half a century ago are fighting back through undermining the revolutionary parties by sponsoring surrogate opposition parties and working against ruling parties.

Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and – to an extent, Tanzania – all face these problems. These countries are the bastions of erstwhile liberation struggles.

However, internal problems are also to blame as these organisations have not effectively dealt with challenges at party and national levels.

Institutional weaknesses, lack of succession and renewal matrices, poor checks and balances, failure to plan and implement programmes, sterility, lack of modernisation; among other factors, contribute to the weakening of the revolutionary party today.

Continued failure to address these could lead to revolutionary parties not just losing power but also their very existence. This cannot be allowed to happen as it will be a great betrayal of modernist history.



Lessons from the Communist Party of China (CPC)

Recently, China’s governing party, the CPC held its 20th national Congress, and the event was a notable success, with President Xi Jinping being reelected leader and General Secretary.

One of the key outcomes of the congress was its display of unity and strength, with President Xi at the leadership core.

The General Secretary himself gave insights on why the CPC has remained strong, through overcoming institutional and national problems that had confronted the party.

President Xi, in his address, noted that China had registered great achievements through reform, opening up, and socialist modernization, and notable advances had been made in the great new project of Party building, creating solid foundations, favorable conditions, and key underpinnings for China’s continued progress.

However, according President Xi, a number of prominent issues and problems-some of which had been building for years and others which were just emerging- demanded urgent action.

He said: “Inside the Party, there were many issues with respect to upholding the Party’s leadership, including a lack of clear understanding and effective action as well as a slide toward weak, hollow, and watered-down Party leadership in practice.

“Some Party members and officials were wavering in their political conviction. Despite repeated warnings, pointless formalities, bureaucratism, hedonism, and extravagance persisted in some localities and departments. Privilege-seeking mindsets and practices posed a serious problem, and some deeply shocking cases of corruption had been uncovered.”

At the same time China’s economy was beset by acute structural and institutional problems; development was imbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable, and the traditional development model could no longer keep China moving forward.

Further, some deep-seated problems in institutions and barriers built by vested interests were becoming more and more apparent and some people lacked confidence in the socialist political system with Chinese characteristics China was descending into a situation where laws were being ignored or not being strictly enforced.

President Xi noted: “Misguided patterns of thinking such as money worship, hedonism, egocentricity, and historical nihilism were common, and online discourse was rife with disorder. All this had a grave impact on people’s thinking and the public opinion environment.”



If any party hits the bottom, it will be both an institutional and national disaster

All these maladies that President Xi pointed out in a brutally honest fashion are what is afflicting ruling parties in Africa, especially in the aforementioned countries. There has been a steep descent into hell, and it appears some parties may find it difficult to extricate themselves from the situation as the situation compounds.

If any party really hits the bottom, it will be both an institutional and national disaster. It is not to be denied that ruling parties – especially revolutionary ones – hold most of their countries’ fabric together because of the hegemony that they have built over the years.

There is thus urgent need for reform, realignment and renewal for most of the revolutionary parties.

Over the years, China, with President Xi at the leadership core, has put its house in order and managed to overcome weak systems and weak links. The ruling party has led the country in the fight against corruption, and President Xi has been a stickler for discipline.

The shambolic nature of the party and its deleterious effect on the nation was remedied and systems put in place to achieve national goals and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
China has emerged stronger.

It has managed to attain its first centenary goal of creating a moderately prosperous society in all respects, which was achieved by end of 2022 and it is marching towards building a prosperous modern socialist country. It’s international stature and strength is growing while its economy and military have become formidable.

All this is possible because of strong leadership and having the courage and tenacity to rescue floundering revolutionary parties.



The writer is a researcher and contributor at a think tank and media resource centre in Harare, Zimbabwe.




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