HARARE - Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) leader, Simba Makoni, says a grand coalition of “progressive forces” including opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, disgruntled Zanu PF stalwarts led by former Vice President Joice Mujuru and Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu would defeat President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF in the 2018 elections.
The former Zanu PF politburo member, who broke ranks with Mugabe in 2007 to form MKD, told the Daily News in an interview yesterday that consultations were under way between various opposition leaders, with a view to form a broad front that would challenge Mugabe’s unbroken three-and-half decades in power.
“We have ongoing communications with the so-called Gamatoxes (disgruntled former Zanu PF stalwarts), the renewal team (MDC breakaway faction), and the MDC for the purpose of building national consensus and to search for common ground so that we can engage in effective common action,” Makoni said.
He implored Zimbabweans to derive inspiration from the leaders of the country’s war of liberation from Britain, whom he said were triumphant notwithstanding the difficulties and intransigence of Ian Smith’s minority regime.
Makoni emphasised that the proposed opposition coalition would use democratic means to push Mugabe out of power, urging Zimbabweans not to lose hope and declaring that free and fair elections would one day have to happen.
The former Finance minister bemoaned the fact that “fear has been the most dominant political force operating in Zimbabwe for a long time”.
“With resolve, with clarity of mind and particularly with rectitude, I am quite convinced that Zimbabweans will liberate themselves for the second time from Mugabe as we did from Ian Smith.
“We will have free and fair elections in this country and we will vote out Mugabe and Zanu PF freely and fairly, most likely in 2018. So I urge Zimbabweans, particularly the young generation, to muster patience and stamina for the long walk or even the long jog or the long trot to freedom.
“It won’t just happen by itself. How do we do it? We organise ourselves into united political organisations, clear in purpose that the issue is not just to remove Mugabe but the rotten system,” Makoni said.
Asked how the dream of free and fair elections in the country would be achieved by opposition forces despite the decades of claims of rigged elections by the ruling party, he said there was need for the proposed coalition, civil society and the church to work together to put sustained pressure on Mugabe, Zanu PF and the government.
“I think the intransigence is only so pronounced because of the weakness in those of us who are leading the call for change. Smith was intransigent and so was PW Botha in South Africa.
“But when the people work together and are united, we will prevail on the need for a good electoral act that empowers the Zimbabwe Election Commission to run elections efficiently and independent of the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation), the ZNA (Zimbabwe National Army) and Mugabe, Makoni said.
“This is a contest that we have to take to the streets. It is part of the struggle that we should call for meetings and (Police commissioner-general Augustine) Chihuri will not say you can’t because there is no law that says citizens should seek permission from him to meet.
“It calls for co-operation of political parties, civic society and I need to add that change is not easy and that real change is not cheap. Change is expensive.
“It’s costly, it’s hard and my compatriots should not expect change to come easily. It entails sacrifice, courage and commitment. It demands patience and stamina,” Makoni added.
He also revealed that he had a strong relationship with the Mujuru family after “my nephew married one of the Mujuru girls. So, they are my in-laws”.
However, he denied allegations that his party was formed in Mujuru’s house, saying it was important to note that the false claim had not come from Zanu PF but rather from controversial First Lady Grace Mugabe.
“Before Grace, I had not heard anyone in Zanu PF making such allegations and therefore I think that should be dismissed as a Grace or is it ‘Disgrace’ rant,” Makoni said.
He said with the country’s economy collapsing by the day and “the dreams of liberation icons like Josiah Tongogara of seeing our children with their white friends” not realised, as well as “relatives of Gukurahundi victims feeling they were better off in Rhodesia than in Zimbabwe,” there was reason for Zimbabweans to believe that the end was nigh for Mugabe.
“One thing that hurts me about Zanu PF is the disempowerment of the people. In spite of all the talk about empowerment, Zimbabweans are now, shamefully, less self reliant than they were in Rhodesia”.
The former Sadc executive secretary said the internecine wars in the ruling party, which had seen it splitting into two bitterly-opposed factions, showed that the centre could no longer hold within Zanu PF.
“When I left the party, I said there were many who were yearning for change and today among both the Gamatoxes and Weevils, there are many who agree with me and are yearning for change,
“Nine chairmen out of 10 want change against a small clique that also believe in change but do not have the courage, tells you that it is not well,” Makoni said.