'Grand coalition Zim's only hope'

HARARE - Analysts say while it is difficult to stitch together a coherent and effective opposition coalition, it is the only way that Zimbabweans can end President Robert Mugabe’s much-criticised stay in power, in the crunch 2018 national elections.

The analysts told the Daily News on Sunday at the weekend that among the impediments standing in the way of the grand coalition were policy disagreements and the egos of the leaders of a number of opposition parties.

Still, they said, the parties would have to find a way of forging common ground if they hoped to defeat Mugabe and Zanu PF from power in two years’ time.

Senior Africa researcher at the New York-based Human Rights Watch, Dewa Mavhinga, said a grand opposition coalition had a good chance to give Zanu PF a good run for its money in 2018.

“If the grand coalition becomes a reality, then the logistics of how it operates can easily be worked out, and it can include agreements regarding how parliamentary and presidential elections will be contested.

“This could mean contesting independently at MP level, but uniting behind one candidate at national level, or even working together at both parliamentary and presidential elections,” he said.

Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said the history of greed, selfishness and egocentricity in Zimbabwean opposition political circles mitigated against the setting up of a coalition.

“Rather than having learnt from the brutal negotiations at GNU, opposition parties keep entrenching the ‘we are better than them’ illusion.

“The excuse that everything revolves around the MDC may no longer hold water because it is up to other parties to convince (MDC president Morgan) Tsvangirai that he needs them.

“Just perhaps, with Zanu PF on the ropes, they might fall into their default mode of violence which may be just the catalyst to incite survivalist cohesion in the opposition camp,” Ngwenya said.

He added that in the unlikely event of a coalition, there was likely to be conflict as to who would head it, in which case this would probably require external mediation for a compromise candidate.

“This candidate will then have to make a commitment to apportion Parliamentary seats on a rational, rather than proportional representation basis,” he said.

Commentator Stephen Tsoroti said he did not think that opposition political players were serious about a coalition.

“What is disappointing is that every time it crops up, the question of who is going to lead it takes centre stage. If the idea of a grand political coalition is going to succeed, the country’s political players have to think beyond positions in the coalition.

“Zimbabweans are fed up with political characters that do not think beyond themselves. They want a system that works, that can make them vote freely, that creates jobs, that safeguards their civil liberties, that feeds them, that offers a sound health system, that respects national laws,” he said.

Civil rights activist Mcdonald Lewanika said his fear was that in the 2018 elections, a weak Zanu PF — faced with a splintered and divided opposition — would still triumph.

“The opposition right now has strong personalities in (Joice) Mujuru, Tsvangirai, (Tendai) Biti, (Lovemore) Madhuku, (Simba) Makoni and (Welshman) Ncube. But these solid characters competing separately are unlikely to prevail over (Emmerson) Mnangagwa, Mugabe or (Sydney) Sekeramayi, backed by the State.

“The only way the opposition can take advantage of Zanu PF weaknesses is not to share the same weaknesses. A grand coalition is not something they can choose to have or not have. It is probably an imperative if there is to be power alternation from Zanu PF to another party,” he said.

Lewanika said Zimbabweans were used to a two-party system, and the best case for the opposition would be to have a pre-election grand coalition — not just at the presidential level, but also at parliamentary level.

“Because there is still a bit of time ahead of 2018, an organic process can be instituted which allows people to discuss and agree on principles, shared values and so on before the inevitable spectre of power is introduced into the conversation ahead of the elections.

“Of course, this maybe be a challenge and the second best thing is to get into a coalition around the presidency, if they can agree on a candidate and power-sharing formula,” Lewanika said, adding that the country’s political terrain was shifting.

“No political party should take for granted their current standing based on the past. It’s almost a new slate and to win against Zanu PF, the combined strengths of the different parties have to come into play.

“The MDC with its history of contest, the PDP with their technical acumen, ZPF with their insider knowledge, NCA with their passion and penchant for grassroots organisation, none of these parties can successfully go it alone. To do so would be to do favours for Zanu PF through splitting the opposition vote,” he said.

“Coalitions are usually easier to manage in a prime ministerial, rather than presidential system, but the Kenyan political parties have shown that such hurdles can be overcome, and this is a country whose divisions are not only political but also ethnic and tribal.

“So the opposition’s differences, mostly hinging on strategic political differences and personalities can be overcome if the actors are willing to put these aside and pay attention to the bigger picture.

“The next election will be fought and won on hope, as well as who the people feel gives them the best chance as a country to move out of the shadows of crisis,” the former Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition boss said.

“The opportunity for a broad-based coalition, which will have a multi-party government is there and the people of Zimbabwe have been amenable to such a situation of multi-party governments since 2002, according to opinion polls, as well as recent memories of the Inclusive government,” Lewanika added.

Media activist Tabani Moyo said a coalition of the opposition political parties is the most practical way out of the Zimbabwean hegemonic struggles.

“However it is not the only solution, because the people of Zimbabwe are entitled to even create a totally different movement if the current crop of political players fails to show political maturity and leadership.”

Moyo said the question should never be on who leads it for now, but defining the principles that are required to hold the opposition centre.

“A coalition can even agree on the presidency and allow for the constituencies at parliamentary and council levels to choose their own representatives but campaigning for single candidates for the presidency.

“An agreement will then be made on the positions basing on the credibility test and the possibilities of a person who is appealing to the electorate and the coalition partners.”

Moyo believes our politics have be drowned in the “politics of personalities for far too long - there is need for servant leadership and even some opposition players exiting all together the political landscape.”

Political commentator Elliot Pfebve said depending on the will of the leadership, it is possible. “There will be negotiations based on popularity and structural base. Assuming that the leaders think above personal ergo, it is possible to agree on a single presidential candidate.

“In terms of MPs a possible scenario is that candidates are free to contest each other, or that the same can happen to MP candidates where consensus can be built on one single candidate through a ballot of course. That’s my opinion.”

Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga said chances become high for a grand opposition coalition to challenge Zanu PF in 2018 if there is sufficient political maturity that transcends narrow personal interests and egos.

“If the grand coalition becomes a reality then the logistics of how it operates can easily be worked out, and it can include agreements regarding how parliamentary and presidential elections will be contested.

“This could mean contesting independently at MPs level but uniting behind one candidate at national level, or even working together at both parliamentary and presidential elections.”

Comments (20)

Hey you see all these so called political analysts know nothing about coalitions bcoz we have never had one before in zim and even if we do most of these so called opposition parties are zanu projects which means they are heavily infested by cio who we know always spy for zanu serving for MDC T the rest of other political parties have no support so how do you form a coalition with someone who has no support and let him or her l;ead that coalition for what reasons . They is no need to fear zanu bcoz this organisation is dead by election time it will be no longer existing . MDC has defeated zanu before and will do so in future come election time you will see that the party is never disjoint as these political analysts wish . People as of now people have no reason to be seen making political noise because it will not bring change but sure the same people will make noise during election eve bcoz they will be sensing change which will be around the corner .But as of now Morgan remains a trusted leader who for 16 years has tamed Mugabe by refusing to be his puppet and zombie .

Diibulaanyika - 14 March 2016

One has to wonder what sort of analysts these guys are. The only true opposition to Bob is The MDC led by Tsvangson. All the other parties are divide and rule tactics by ZANU. Most right minded Zimbos know this and they know that a true government for the people will only come after ZANU and its sideshows has been swept off the face of Zim. By the way, I like your style, Diibulaanyika

Dunlop Munjanja - 14 March 2016

I concur. In all the elections that MDC has participated, it has trounced Zanu overwhelmingly, we all know that. There is no need for a coalition as it may only serve to assist the new parties, especially the leaders in them. These other parties can just be advised to join the MDC as individuals, with all its members, including the leaders, becoming ordinary card carrying elements in the MDC. In a free and fair election, MDC will win an election any time as no right thinking Zimbabwean will vote for Zanu or any former Zanu outcrop, former MDC outfit or new party at that.

Yeoman Thomas - 15 March 2016

@ Dibulaanyika - Dunlop - Yeoman, you trio need to drop what you smoking and recognise these hard to swallow facts about Zimbabweans and their politics. 1.Zimbas just want change for the better, it doesn't matter to them who or where that change comes from 2.Zimbas dont give a damn about an opposition party that wins elections and still fails to get its candidate to become President. Thats the worst type of opposition there is - the one that doesnt deliver results by any means necessary. Chematama has probably won 2 of the last 3 elections and he still aint Pres! - Thats a Fact! 3.MDCstill has no solution on what to do if state machinery is used to intimidate voters and manipulate the voting process, their answer being to continue to cry foul as they get unfairly beaten at every turn - whats the point????? 4.Zimbas know that Presidents are not ushered in by a free and fair vote, hence the need for an unorthodox approach in achieving the change we all want to see in our beloved country. We are tired of the repression, looting and systematic destruction of our childrens legacy by these ageing greedy despots - Kupi kwawakawona masoja achiita Diamond Mining honestly - you are professionally trained at military school and your purpose is to mine Diamonds at Chiadzwa kuitawo here ikoko??? 15 Bhidza ngaitodzoka

wakeupasmellacoffee - 15 March 2016

the reason why Zimbabwe is this situation is because an average Zimbabwean doesn't want the truth. below are some of the truths that people routinely circumvent: 1. rwavhi gukurahundi Mugabe committed genocide in Zimbabwe mainly the gukurahundi atrocities of the 1980s. this is the reason why he doesn't want to vacate the throne because he knows that he will be arrested. this has nothing to do with his marriage to grace is this come well after he had committed the crimes. 2. grace is a useless slut who left her marriage to get married to rwavhi because of pecuniary gains. 3. joice mujuru was the main driver of corruption in zanu with her late hubby rex. she owns a number of farms, mine and buildings around the country. she has no positive contribution to make to the country given her horrendous performance in govt for the past 35 years. she is a liar who wants us to believe that she always had differences with Mugabe yet she begged him to stay on the eve of her official cashiering. the fact that on top of her priorities is the chasing of solo's killers shows that she is in it for her own benefit and not for national benefit. tsvangirayi lost his wife in dodgy circumstances but never has he said that he wants to avenge that. also, joice consistently said that she has no ambition to become president now she is lying that people requested her to be president. the day we learnt to accept and tell the truth, our country and ourselves shall be liberated!!!

josphat mugadzaweta - 15 March 2016

@wakeupsmellacoffee, what will mujuru do with zanu violence and army intervention? the weekend events in glen view tell it all. you are the one who should smell the said coffee mfowethu!!! mujuru is a useless chancer or Mugabe's decoy for what we she so us now that she failed do for donkeys years in government and a useless team of bright matonga, mavahaire, kudzi mbudzi, mutasa, gumbo, makova, mutezo to name just a few?

josphat mugadzaweta - 15 March 2016

@wakeupsmellthecofee I failed to get some sense in what you are trying to say .So you wanted Morgan to kill people to claim his stolen votes like what we saw in Ivory coast were thousands lost their lives .No no no zimbabweans do not want that . For your information zimbabweans know their party forget about confused so called political analysts all what they are saying is wishful thinking not analysing politics as it stands .Morgan is the man for the presidential job in zim and zimbaweans have no problem with that . unless if some one is fooled by zanu propaganda .

Diibulaanyika - 15 March 2016

these analysts give wild opinions sometimes. pipol first is a group of disgruntled & estranged amphibians trying to border-jump back into the gvt in the name of a coalition blessed by these analysts. MDC is the only credible opposition with a wide support base than any other political institution in the country. pf want to ride on this support base to smuggle themselves back n the system so that they revert to their old ways. Tsvangirayi need no coalition with anyone to win elections! he has beaten rhobhati hands down ever since he came onto the political landscape. by the same token, he cannot bulldoze himself into the office when the maggots are rigging and refusing to leave because he will end up at the ICC if people get butchered by rhobhati's army. morgan cant risk that as it will be a great undoing of what we are fighting for. we know were to place our vote come elections and the nice X will be next to Tsvangson, with due care not to spoil the ballot! to hell with coalitions because joyce, Welshman, madhuku or whoever, have lost political taste. let not get disillusioned by zanu projects masquerading as PF or mdc-m/n.

SaManyika Chaiye - 15 March 2016

@Dibuulaanyika & co.......I totally agree with your ways of analysis unlike these so called pro analysts. Why would MDC with so much support across the country want to join with any other party, By the way joice mujuru is not a proven strong personality as you state, the only proven opposition strong personality is Tsvang considering what he has gone through since 1999. The only thing that the opposition needs to do is make sure they agree on how make the election free and fair if they are genuine opposition. Joice mujuru nechikwata chake and the other opposition parties should stand on their own feet not try and get back to govt through back door easily through a coalition. It doesn't matter how many opposition political parties there are, still MDC will still triumph.

misty - 15 March 2016

Guys the truth is Mujuri-led party plus the Morgan-led side will be enough to bury Zanu PF. We need real coalitions not an amalgamation which does not make any political sense/add value. Imagine a coalition made up of Kiss Not Mukwazhe, NCA, ZAPU, Ndonga, MDC Renewal and MDC Ncube. that's a dead coalitation, i tell you; their combined efforts will not ganner home even 50 000 Votes for their presidential candidate. We want parties with a following to come together and give Zanu PF a difficult run come 2018. We don't want to waste time dreaming that some little parties without even meaningful structures can win a national plebiscite if they form a coalition.

Buhera Kata - 15 March 2016

@Buhera Kata. I couldn't agree with you more.A united opposition front is absolutely vital for any inroads to be made into the incumbent Zpfers come 2018.I'm hopeful it will happen and have already made plans for a return home after years abroad!

Loud Speaker - 15 March 2016

I am not an analyst of any class, my on is an opinion based on past experience. In 1980, if Zanu PF and PF Zapu had gone to the election as one part, they would have defeated Smith Regime with flying colours the roumours that PF Zapu worn would not even be spoken off. But they went separately and there is this rumour true or falls but its there. Basing on the fear that engulfed Zanu PF after the first election that Mugabe had to unleash unbridled 5th Brigade, if the issue was just the those Gweselas and few so called military rebels, surely there was no need to ungulf the entire midlands, and the two or so more other provinces. It steers in my mind that surely there was more on the ground that required the entire brigade to deal with. As if not enoiugh, even up to now, ZANU PF has failed to do well in Matebeland when ever there is an election with opposition participating. Further still if one would look at the notority of CIO from the inception and the disappearance of some military guys since 1980, it pains a bleak picture right from the on set, however Zanu PF survived with brutality tack ticks meaning it was never a freewill decision of people to elect it. That being said, now coming to the current scenario, recently in 2008, had MDC not been split on tribal lines, the elcetion would have been like MDC N and MTC T combined 47% plus 7% by way of parliamentary representation that meant outright win against the Zanu PF's pathetic rigged result of 43%. However rumour are that MDC T got 73% and Zanu PF and MDC N shared the 27%. That being said, the split of opposition enabled Zanu PF to claim a none out right winner. This led to the run-off which Zanu Pf went on to turn into Legion, Zimbabwe became a battle field against the electorate. The desparation was so bad that military brigadier had to literally go on the ground and conduct a military operation intimidating, killing, raping and abducting voters.

amina - 16 March 2016

Some had to relocate to other provinces or have their IDs taken so that came voting day they had nothing to vote with. All this was a result of split that could have been avoided had MDK, MDC-N and MDC-T been united. Now with ZimPF the equation even became interesting, but the more splits they are in opposition, the greater it is for ZANU PF to rig and claim victory. United is the only way but it calls for all leaders to treat each other with respect because what is leading to the split is divergent of views which in some cases is influenced by greed and stupidity. But in calls for those clever to know that the way is not to deal with this stupid now, but ZANU PF is the enemy. hence allow coalition at any cost.

amina - 16 March 2016

Realizing that they had lost popularity and stood no chance of winning any free and fair election, Bob and his CIO realized that had to scheme up another way of remaining in control so they took control of Morgan and his MDC and created The People First Party to firstly confuse the population and secondly to split the electorate so that a grand coalition would be the only choice or solution? Trust me when I tell you that there IS NO REAL OPPOSITION in Zimbabwe, all the parties are under the full control of CIO. Any genuine or real opposition is eliminated - surely everyone must by now realize what is going on? Wake up Zimbabwe.

Mbewa - 16 March 2016

Dont bother Tswangirai and Mujuru to unite, dont come to Mthwakazi. You have shown your colours. The best thing Zimbabweans can do is vote for ZAPU

dotiyenja - 16 March 2016

Why talk of splits in opposition as if they are no splits in zanu . A clever opposition would not want to form coalitions with zanu splits .Mujuru is going to split votes from zanu Lacoste is going to do the same by encouraging bhora musango then if that is not split for votes what is it ? .Open your ears ,brain and eyes zanu will have split votes in 2018 elections that is true and only a lunatic will dispute that .

Diibulaanyika - 16 March 2016

Amina alludes to one very important fact: RIGGING! Coalition or no coalition Zombie PF will still rig the election and Tsvangson is dead on the spot when he demands electoral reforms, now the ball is on the Zombie PF offshoot the ZimPF, Teurai Ropa and her cabal's court to spill the beans on how elections are stolen and possible put spanners in the works of the dreaded Zombie PF mafia foot soldiers; the state security establishment, that could work to the benefit of every one. But let the choice of the people lead the country not some fantasy creation of so called political analysts who do not have any point but just want show off their English while proving to be pathetically ignorant and out of touch. Let Tsvangson finish it! Abo Biti ama opportunist and co, carve your own niche and bring your support.

WhiteRabbit - 16 March 2016

Which opposition parties are u talking abt? There is one tried and tested opposition in Tsvangson's MDC. The other so-called opposition have never won 10 constituencies combined. Be serious. We don't want Zanu PF projects to merge with the real opposition party

Dr. Amai - 16 March 2016

Joyce Mujuru & husband where the champions of corruption.Didmus Mutasa was the CIO boss in charge of abductions,torture and murder of the opposition for the last 35 years.We want a Truth & Reconciliation Commission where they tell it all (corruption,torture,abductions,gukurahundi,murambastvina,marange diamond,etc) before we believe anything they have to say now.Currently hey are a ZANU PF project meant to split opposition vote come 2018.It is our responsibilty as patriotic zimbabweans to educate our rural folks of this zanu pf project.Mujuru is a hyena in sheep's clothes.Ndakuyambirai!!

billy johns - 16 March 2016

I totally disagree on some kind of cooked up & blind "grand coalition". This can simply amount to a different version of the so-called GNU, which at the end brought us back to zero. Any well meaning & sustainable coalition need to be based on ideological convergence - not some kind of hurried up marriages-of-convenience. In that case, we are surely creating situations of taking what seems like one step 4ward but the at the end having two or more steps back. Is that what we want? I think not: most of us are tired of this vicious cycle.

mapingu - 16 March 2016

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