Tsvangirai, Ncube under pressure to unite

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his former ally-turned-foe Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube are under pressure to form a coalition from smaller political parties and the generality of Zimbabweans.

Although Ncube has already ruled out any prospects of a poll pact with his former president under a united MDC — political analysts say a grand coalition is the solution to unlocking President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF’s hold on power.

Political think-tank, Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI), says such a coalition would effectively end Zanu PF hegemony.

“In articulating the significance of the need for the democratic forces to unite, the two MDC formations — one led by Tsvangirai and the other by Ncube — need to show and exercise leadership for the broader democratisation cause,” said Pedzisai Ruhanya, the director of ZDI.

“The idea of an electoral pact is not limited to the MDC formations, but should include other groups such as those led by liberation war veteran and Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn president Simba Makoni and the leadership of progressive civic society institutions such as the National Constitutional Assembly, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the Zimbabwe National Students Union, and the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe,” said Ruhanya.

One Zimbabwe Campaign, an outfit formed by more than 10 smaller political parties that include the National Development Party (NDP), Zapu/FP and Zimbabwe People’s Party (ZPP), is also advocating for an alliance of all political parties to avoid splitting votes and remove Zanu PF from power.

“We came up with One Zimbabwe Campaign after realising that successive elections since independence have been rigged and we would like to ensure that this would be prevented by forming a grand coalition that could be led by Tsvangirai, Ncube or Makoni,” Kisinoti Mukwazhe, coordinator of One Zimbabwe said.

During the first round of 2008 presidential election Tsvangirai got 1 195 562 votes (47,87 percent), Mugabe 1 079 730 (43,34 percent) and Makoni who was riding on Ncube’s MDC got 207 470 (8,31 percent). A subsequent runoff was disputed after Tsvangirai pulled out citing military-led violence which he said killed at least 200 of his supporters in weeks.

The One Zimbabwe Campaign says it has already held talks with officials from Tsvangirai’s MDC, Mavambo and also Zapu.

“The problem we are having is who should lead the coalition, everyone wants to be the leader of the coalition and that is proving to be the stumbling block. We hope that we will be able to deal with that once we have a meeting,” said Mukwazhe.

Despite calls for unity, the chasm between the former comrades is widening daily and last week Ncube attacked Tsvangirai and Mugabe for sidelining him in crucial government meetings.

However, Tsvangirai says it is Mugabe who is blocking Ncube from attending the principals’ Monday meetings.

“It is at the instigation of prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai that the principals meeting be split into two with the Monday meeting focusing on government while the Tuesday meeting being for political party leaders,” said Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka.

“It is the view of the prime minister that Professor Welshman Ncube should have attended the Tuesday meeting but this was objected by other principals,” he said, going further to defend the decision to appoint ministers from Mugabe and Tsvangirai’s parties only to craft the poll roadmap.

“It is in his personal view that when the two ministers (Chinamasa and Matinenga) tasked with crafting the political and legal roadmap for our polls, all political parties in the inclusive government should be consulted,” said Tamborinyoka.

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