Parties rally behind Tsvangirai

HARARE - Ex-Zanu PF stalwarts Dumiso Dabengwa and Simba Makoni have launched a final plan to “unseat” President Robert Mugabe’s party by uniting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC.

As discussions on the formation of a grand coalition against the Zanu PF strongman, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) and Zapu leaders, among others, have strongly hinted that talks are underway with the mainstream MDC. The discussions also include Reketai Semwayo’s Zanu Ndonga.

“All that we are saying is that there has got to be a purpose and we share the same objectives (with other political parties) and last week we put those shared values on the ground.

“We are waiting for those parties if they think they share the same values with us. We are ready to discuss and arrive at something,” said Dabengwa.

“As Zapu we are prepared to work with any party that will bring change to our country.”

Dabengwa’s statement resonates with Tsvangirai’s call last week for like-minded political parties to form a united front as the country plunges into a watershed election.

Said Tsvangirai, “circumstances dictate behaviour” and expressed hope that all “progressive parties must unite to achieve the change that the people expect”.

“Let us set aside our personal interests and problems; let us all unite. It is in everyone’s interest to have this change and my party is committed to that,” said Tsvangirai.

With the die cast for a potentially bruising battle between Tsvangirai and Mugabe, who according to opinion polls are almost tied in terms of popular support — an alliance could be the decider in the impending watershed elections that should be held by July 31.

Mugabe however, cannot count on the support of his erstwhile ministers Dabengwa and Makoni, who in 2008 ditched the former ruling party to pursue their own political project, where Makoni contested for presidency with the backing of Dabengwa.

Although, Dabengwa later ditched Makoni to lead a resurgent Zapu, political fortunes for the two ex-Zanu PF ministers have never been bright notwithstanding the fact that they still command a lot of respect across the country.

Asked whether he is willing to join forces with Tsvangirai, Makoni, who leads MKD said, “I am willing to work with all Zimbabweans who are working on solving the country’s problems.”

Reketai Semwayo, who leads Zanu founding father Ndabaningi Sithole’s Zanu Ndonga, said he has already made up his mind and will soon engage all political parties to rally behind Tsvangirai.

“We have already started talks with other parties having already finished talks with the MDC.

“The people are saying we should come up with one position so we are calling upon other parties to rally behind Tsvangirai as president of the coalition,” said Semwayo.

Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube-led MDC, which is also in government, has however ruled out the possibility of forming a grand coalition with the Tsvangirai-led MDC saying the two parties are like oil and water and cannot mix. On the other hand, people like Dabengwa, who still has a bone to chew with Zanu PF, say in order to correct past injustices a coalition is the solution.

In its 33-year-old rule, Zanu PF has been accused of gross human rights violations, including the 1980s Gukurahundi atrocities, when the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade brutally crushed dissent in the Midlands and Matabeleland regions where thousands of innocent civilians were caught in the crossfire.

As a result of perceived past wrongs such as the Gukurahundi atrocities and betrayal on the other hand, there is no love lost between Zanu PF ,Makoni and Dabengwa who are regarded within the guerrilla movement as sell-outs.

Last week, when opposition leaders ganged up against Mugabe, Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa called upon Makoni and Dabengwa to grow up.

Mutasa’s ridiculing was, apparently, spurred by a rare display of unity among opposition leaders who included Tsvangirai, Dabengwa and Makoni when on Wednesday last week they coalesced vowing not to participate in an election without the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement.

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