Zimbabwe African People's Union

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedIn
Zapu logo.jpg

The Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) is the oldest liberation war (Second Chimurenga) party formed in 1961 to brind democracy to Rhodesia. Led by Joshua Nkomo, the movement announced guerilla war in 1966 after the party had sent some militants abroad for military training in Algeria, Ghana, Czechoslovakia, and China. In 1987, the party merged with the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) after the two aparties signed the Unity Accord. The latter signaled the end of Gukurahundi. The party was led by Dumiso Dabengwa in 2022.

See Zimbabwe By-elections (March 2022).

Formation and History

The party was formed on 17 December 1961 after the banning of the National Democratic Party. [1] The party subsequently led mass rallies that gained them nothing but provocative acts of violence from the police. Within two years of its formation, the party was to send some militants abroad for military training to such countries as Algeria, Ghana, Czechoslovakia, and China. As was the norm with the regime, the party was banned on 20 September 1962. This was followed by a wave of violence that saw the British South African Company forests being burned and attacks made on government buildings. The party had earlier split on alleged ethnic grounds with Robert Mugabe forming ZANU PF while Nkomo remained with ZAPU. [2] The banned party did not stop its activities and in August of the same year held a conference at Cold Comfort Farm. It was here that the party was renamed The People's Caretaker Council (PCC) under the leadership of Nkomo. During the 1980 elections, the party took a minority of seats, while Zanu PF took the majority. In 2009 the party withdrew from the Unity accord because of alleged human rights violations by ZANU PF.

Unity Accord

In the early 1980s just after Zimbabwe attained independence, the infamous Fifth Brigade unleashed terror in Matabeleland and Manicaland provinces. The reason for this was believed to have been the discovery of weapons that were allegedly hidden by Nkomo. As a result, the Fifth Brigade was sent to deal with the alleged dissidents. The army went on to kill an estimated 20 000. To end this, ZAPU went on to sign what was termed the Unity Accord with Zanu PF in 1987. This signalled the merging of the two partys into one under the leadership of Mugabe.

Under Duress

In 2013 however, ZAPU alleged that they were forced to sign the agreement or face extinction. [3] Most of the Ndebele people still claim that there was no unity to talk about as they are treated as second-class citizens. They were enraged by the fact that Zanu PF had the honours to retain their party name, their party symbol and also that their leader automatically became the leader of the merged party. To them, since all the ZAPU positions are second rank to Zanu PF, there is no unity accord to talk about.[4]

Coalition with MDC

During the 2013 elections, the party agreed on a coalition with Welshman Ncube led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The parties agreed the following:

  1. That in any constituency and or ward where one party has not fielded a candidate, the other party will mobilise its members and supporters to vote for the other party’s candidate.
  2. That the parties would not discuss or enter into any pact or coalition with any other party other than with each other, namely, MDC and ZAPU (save in circumstances where an agreement would have been reached between the two parties). This was in recognition of previous discussions that had established that the two parties shared common values and principles.
  3. With respect to the issue of the two parties’ Presidential candidature, the parties expressed the desirability of consolidating their share of votes by not splitting the vote. They, however, acknowledged the complexity of the issue and undertook to consult their respective executive committees to get guidance.
  4. It was further agreed that the political parties would work towards the expansion of the level of cooperation after the forthcoming elections. [5]

2018 Elections

In 2016 ZAPU joined a coalition of parties called Coalition of Democrats to contest the 2018 elections. In April 2018, however, ZAPU left the Coalition of Democrats. Speaking to NewsDay, Zapu spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa confirmed that Dumiso Dabengwa was running for president in the 2018 polls after cutting ties with the Coalition of Democrats. [6]

2018 Elections Manifesto

ZAPU 2018 Elections Manifesto


  1. The ZAPU Timeline, 'ZAPU', Published: ND, Retrieved: 7 May 2014
  2. - Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo - From birth to death - Father Zimbabwe -, Published: ND, Retrieved: 7 May 2014
  3. [www.zimeye.org/unity-accord-was-signed-under-duress-and-intimidation-zapu/ Unity Accord Was Signed Under Duress-ZAPU], 'Zim Eye', Published: 5 Feb 2013, Retrieved: 7 May 2014
  4. uShaka kaSenzangakhona, Zapu was politically raped via the Unity Accord of 1987, 'Umthwakazi Review', Published: 18 Jan 2014, Retrieved: 7 May 2014
  5. MDC and ZAPU strike Unity Deal, 'Zim Eye', Published: 5 July 2013, Retrieved: 7 May 2014
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ND

Buy Phones on Credit.

More Deals