Zanu (PF) rebranding?

Zanu (PF) managed to rub off the scepticism among the electorate when it lived up to its pledge for non-violent elections and has apparently changed its approach to political issues after the July 31 polls, raising questions among analysts as to whether the party is attempting to re-brand.

Although suspicions still remain, analysts have said Zanu (PF) is aware of the damage it did following the 2008 elections when its party supporters perpetrated violence against the MDC.

Zanu in a good light

According to analysts, the re-branding exercise is a move meant to portray the party in a good light on the local, regional and international scene, as well as conferring legitimacy to President Robert Mugabe.

The president has pledged to tackle the corruption which has soiled the party’s name, adding that he was ready to work with the West. The new Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Jonathan Moyo, also said the state was willing to work with the media.

After his swearing in this month, Moyo assured journalists that they had nothing to fear “except fear itself”.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesperson, Thabani Nyoni, said Mugabe had been speaking a different language since the recent elections.

“There is a sense that they need to deliver. Mugabe has been speaking a different language and he has been naming and shaming corrupt individuals. That gives you a sense that the party wants to re-brand.

“Zanu (PF) has also been engaging various stakeholders and if you look at all these things, you get a sense that the party wants things done. It seems they want to justify their claims that the GNU was not workable,” said Nyoni.

However, Nyoni was sceptical that the party would continue to operate peacefully.

A new formula

“In terms of upholding peace, I think it is only because Zanu (PF) discovered a new formula of winning elections without violence. I think that in the next elections, we are going to see new strategies being employed because Zanu (PF) does not want to be predictable in terms of how they deal with issues,” said Nyoni.

University of Zimbabwe lecturer, Shakespeare Hamauswa, said: “The developments could be a sign of concerted efforts to rebrand Zanu (PF) and restructure the party. I think those in Zanu (PF) understand how the party lost past elections and they realise that during that period, they were no longer a party of the people.

“What the party is doing could be a way of giving confidence to the international community. In other words, they are saying they are willing to abide by the principles that guide Western countries such as transparency, accountability as well as upholding democratic values,” said Hamauswa

Survival tactics

Another analyst, Rejoice Ngwenya, is of the view that Zanu (PF)’s change of attitude was not re-branding as such but rather a survival tactic.

“Mugabe’s friends in SADC might have told him that if there are any traces of violence, it would be impossible for them to support the party. I do not want to call it re-branding because even dictators can present a false image of tranquillity,” said Ngwenya.

Another analyst, Blessing Vava, concurred with Ngwenya and said: “If you look at the 2008 election, it discredited Zanu (PF) because of the violence and this time around, it was clear that if Zanu (PF) orchestrated violence, they were going to lose legitimacy.

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