Over the weekend ZANU PF said a team of its top officials had returned from China where they had observed how the 'Chinese Communist Party goes about winning its elections.'
ZANU PF official Amos Midzi said the team's visit to China was an eye-opener. He told the Sunday Mail that one of the lessons they brought back was that indiscipline within the party must be punished.
China of course doesn't 'win' elections, it manipulates then. So ZANU PF were presumably there hoping to pick up a few new tips.
This year the Communist party picked 2,270 delegates to attend the 18th party congress at which the new standing committee members are to be anointed. Party officials said it was the most "democratic" process in its history. But of course the result of the election will not be left to any kind of chance and was decided in advance. In August the communist party leaders retired to their favourite seaside resort and finalised the selection process. It will culminate in a number of men applauding themselves as they stand on the stage of the Great Hall of the People.
It's all so organised the new leaders won't even have to worry about coming up with their own policies. Those were laid out for them in the five-year plan for 2011-2015, approved last year.
Last Friday the Chinese and English language versions of the New Work Times website was blocked by the Chinese government because of a report that detailed the obscene personal wealth - estimated at US$2.7 Billion - of the current premier's family. Wen Jiabao's family's investments cover many different sections of China's economy, from an insurance giant that benefited from reforms in 2004 to a company specialising in wastewater treatment and the disposal of medical waste that received US$30 million in grants following tougher regulations brought in by Mr. Wen himself, following the SARS outbreak.
So it looks as though ZANU PF don't really have too much to learn. All the ruling party chefs already have huge wealth that they have gained in a less than honest way and they have over 30 years experience at rigging elections.
They don't even have to learn how to block independent news. They already have Chinese help and equipment in blocking the broadcasts of SW Radio Africa.
Perhaps the Chinese trip was just for shopping?