'We need you' . . . small opposition parties tell Tsvangirai

HARARE - The country’s smaller opposition parties yesterday moved to pacify MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, after he appeared to slam the door shut on Thursday on the prospects of him working with his former comrades who deserted him and the MDC over the years, saying he did not see the sense of crafting a coalition with people who had previously made it clear that they did not want to work with him.

Speaking at a media conference in Harare, the representative of the 13 parties who met in South Africa last week without Tsvangirai and former Vice President Joice Mujuru to advance the scope for an opposition alliance ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections, Simba Makoni, said nobody would be left out from the deliberations.

Analysts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday after Makoni’s conciliatory remarks, which came barely 24 hours after Tsvangirai’s outburst, said by reaching out to Tsvangirai so promptly and publicly, the 13 small parties which met in Cape Town last week may have done enough to placate the former prime minister in the short-lived government of national unity, whose support of any mooted opposition coalition was key.

“We commit to reaching out to other leaders … we are not assuming that because they did not come to Cape Town therefore they will not come to Nyanga for example, when we meet again before the end of this year,” Makoni, who is also the leader of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) said.

“We are not enough as the 13 of us, hence the need to engage others. We gave ourselves up to before the end of this year to come up with a structure and working strategy for the coalition. We are committed to doing what is necessary to achieve this noble objective whose time has come for the benefit of Zimbabweans.

“Nobody was left out. This is what the facilitator told us, saying he made three trips here and met every one of us, including Tsvangirai and Mujuru’s representatives. But each of us took a decision whether to attend or not to attend.

“Our meeting was meant to explore the prospects of working together and we hope to have engaged each other in all the areas that are necessary. Numbers are important in any election ... ,” Makoni added.

The parties which met in Harare yesterday included the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Zapu, the Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) and the MKD.

Addressing journalists at his party’s Harare headquarters on Thursday, Tsvangirai had appeared to slam the door shut on the prospects of him working with his former comrades who deserted him and the MDC over the years.

He also said he had not seen the need for him to attend the Cape Town meeting, which not only involved people who had left his party, but was also unclear in terms of its objectives.

Political observers who spoke to the Daily News then inferred that among the prominent figures that Tsvangirai may have had in his sights was PDP leader Tendai Biti who once served as the MDC’s secretary-general before he acrimoniously parted ways with Tsvangirai.

“You don’t leave a party and go to the side and say let’s have a coalition. Why did you leave in the first place?" Tsvangirai asked rhetorically.

“I hope that everyone will understand that working together is a process of building trust among participants ... I did not go (to the SA meeting) because there was no reason for me to attend. How do you introduce a subject which you have not planned with me?

“That does not mean that I am underplaying the need for a coalition, but I don’t even know who was co-ordinating the talks and what mandate he has? Besides, have we failed as Zimbabweans to sit down and talk amongst ourselves? Do we need outsiders to organise us? That is why I did not see it necessary to go to that meeting,” Tsvangirai added.

Before that, the absence of both Tsvangirai and Mujuru at the Cape Town meeting had appeared not to go down well with Biti, who went on to cast doubts on the formation of the mooted grand coalition in the country.

“I think it’s going to be very difficult in Zimbabwe to have coalitions, there are a lot of egocentric and selfish actors in our discourse, but I think we have to do better," Biti said on social media.

“We have to go beyond these individuals and establish a matrix of working together because that’s what our people want. It’s not about me or what the next leader of a political party wants. So we have to put our people first, so we can reconstruct this country after the mess and collapse caused by Robert Mugabe,” he added.

Analysts have consistently said that a united opposition fighting with one purpose would bring to an end Mugabe’s long rule, especially at this time when the country’s economy is dying and the increasingly frail nonagenarian is battling to keep his warring Zanu PF united.

Since Mujuru joined hands with Tsvangirai and marched with him in the streets of Gweru in August this year — in a rare public display of unity among the opposition — there have been growing calls by fed-up citizens for the formation of a grand opposition alliance.

And speaking to the Daily News in October after defeating Zanu PF in the Norton by-election, independent legislator Temba Mliswa said among the lessons that long-suffering Zimbabweans and the country’s brutalised opposition could learn from his stunning victory then, was that they could once again defeat Mugabe and Zanu PF, just as Tsvangirai and the MDC had done in 2008.

However, and notwithstanding his dim view of his former comrades, Tsvangirai was quick to add on Thursday that the opposition’s plans for a grand coalition were alive, although this would be a process rather than an event.

Comments (16)

Yes, Makoni there could be 13 parties but the big question is how many supporters these 13 parties have. I can imagine of these 13 leaders plus two more from ZPF and MDC-T all jostling for positions without even considering whether they have any supporters or not. I may as well form my own party as an easy route to be in leadership on the back of the coalition.

Inyika - 4 December 2016

Biti ought to face the reality. He has no political base. Coalitions are not made in a vacuum. Whether he likes it or not MDC(T) is a key factor

jason mpala - 4 December 2016

iwe Biti IF KNEW ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WORKING TOGETHER WHY ID YOU BREAK AWAY FROM TSVANGIRAI IN THE FIRST PLACE.

patso - 4 December 2016

As long we have hypocrites and egos we can never achieve anything. Morgan we have been supporting you, likewise swallow your pride and support the suffering masses of Zim by swallowing your pride and joining the coalition pls. Remember we made u and we can also break u baba. This coalition is for the good of everyone else , then once formed u can fight with yo Mbitis .

Ndoda - 4 December 2016

I don't understand what Ndoda is saying,,Tsvangirai didn't refuse to work with these people,,he is saying they planned a meat without informing him including Zpf&I think he is right,,how can u go were u were not invited. The truth is these small parties must accept the reality that Tsvangirai has it all.They are showing there true colors that they are after leadership.Even those who organized the event were supposed to make sure they reach all the parties. Bit I is the trouble couser,,he just want to bring Tsvangirai down by all means.I wonder how he is going to do it.The people of Zimbabwe knows Tsvangirai better than anyone else.

Matsotsi - 4 December 2016

I think all opposition leaders&their parties who claim are fighting for democracy in zimbabwe must show us leadership to that end, not only in words but in deeds as well by giving an open platform in the so called coaliation for the election of n one to the leadership of the coaliation,which wil send off clear signal of their true leadership to democracy,not to maintain the same Mugabe's style in zanu pf of preserving certain top&uncontested posts for n special persons like Mujuru or Tsvangirai for mere reasons of bng considered to b at certain level of past popularity,just like the presidency post is uncontested &preserved for Mugabe in all zanupf congresses.I want to point it out to all members of our nation that thsz complete zero leadership on the part of thoz who claim to lead us to democracy.I presume Tsvangirai might b referring to the differances he had with Biti over how to hv a path to democracy&vice-vesa,but Biti might hv gd reasons to leave Tsvangirai.All opposition leaders must show leadership to our transforming to democracy not in words but in actions-itz not a clever Tsvangirai or Mujuru manipulating the rest of us to their beneficial ends' struggle but a struggle for all zimbabweans,so we must hv n open platform electing n one to th leadership,not hving some resorting to wishing to pin their chances on past popularity

addmore gudo - 4 December 2016

In a true fight against Mugabe we would not hear of people pleading with others that they need them. What we will be seeing and hearing is people ( wether you prefer to call them parties or anything) focussing their efforts to the goal: to send mugabe packing and retrieve our country from the garbage heap.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 4 December 2016

Smaller political parties are simply exhibiting how desperate and power hungry they are. Its more of position angling that anything else. With or without coalition mugabe will leave centre stage then what! A healthy democracy is when there is more independent political shops which generate wide range of fresh ideas and competition to improve service delivery. These small parties are just lazy and seeks secure comfort for selfish reasons. Lest' say the impossible happens a new political party is formed and its rogue,radical and share the same brutal zanu pf policies. Aproaches zanu pf for a coalition to defeat opposition. Basic fundamental principle for negotiating one must have a bargaining chip for leverage. Small parties are bringing "mugabe removal" as their motivation which in any case majority wants mugabe gone including some in zanu pf which exposes their shortcomings. Editor @dailynews pliz give us a blow by blow history, activities, archievements of the other 13 political parties. Its absurd for 13 to seek 1 to join them. Each political party for itself and no to one party state.

X-MAN IV - 4 December 2016

I believe that Tsvangi's approach is now more learned as he found out, during the G.N.U, that rushing to make agreements without critical evaluation of possible outcomes could be disastrous to him and his party.

Delivered - 5 December 2016

the smaller parties are literally begging Tsvangairai and Mujuru to join them because they know without these two there is no real coalition. The fact is that these 13 parties have very few supporters which cannot pose a challenge to anyone. But I know Tsvangirai and Mujuru are going to form their own coalition and will not join the 13 small parties

Taurai Nyararai - 5 December 2016

If you want a perfect system in trading that can make you gain success in you trades. Google Superior Trading System. You won't regret trusting these guys.

lloydcadenna - 5 December 2016

@matsotsi l am saying that pple must put their differences away for the good of the nation. All were invited but Tsvangirais ego and Mujuru wanted it done on their terms. This is being selfish . We in Mat we want all parties to unite or else MDC t and zpf will kiss goodbye our votes. Pls let everyone unite and we remove the goblin and then after that deal with these traitors my brother. Vanhu batambura hama/ abantu bazwile ukuhlupheka sihlobo. The coalition is our only hope

Ndoda - 5 December 2016

@matsotsi l am saying that pple must put their differences away for the good of the nation. All were invited but Tsvangirais ego and Mujuru wanted it done on their terms. This is being selfish . We in Mat we want all parties to unite or else MDC t and zpf will kiss goodbye our votes. Pls let everyone unite and we remove the goblin and then after that deal with these traitors my brother. Vanhu batambura hama/ abantu bazwile ukuhlupheka sihlobo. The coalition is our only hope

Ndoda - 5 December 2016

Tsvangirai should not waste his time forming a coalition with these little unknown parties which don't even have sound support base. They are only there to bring confusion and confusion in the system. The only part that he must join hands with is Mujurus'. Can you imagine him joining hands with Ace Lumumba? Who doesn't no it his fallout with Zanu PF is stage managed. "Who on earth who talks rubbish to the president the way he did it and continue to get flexible bail conditions". This is a way of zanu pf trying to infiltrate the coalition in this respect, MDC-T and ZPF. The rest havana kana basa. Kana vachida, let them form their own coalition not with you.

reality - 5 December 2016

Tsvangirai should not waste his time forming a coalition with these little unknown parties which don't even have sound support base. They are only there to bring confusion and confusion in the system. The only part that he must join hands with is Mujurus'. Can you imagine him joining hands with Ace Lumumba? Who doesn't no it his fallout with Zanu PF is stage managed. "Who on earth who talks rubbish to the president the way he did it and continue to get flexible bail conditions". This is a way of zanu pf trying to infiltrate the coalition in this respect, MDC-T and ZPF. The rest havana kana basa. Kana vachida, let them form their own coalition not with you.

reality - 5 December 2016

@Ndoda you are absolutely spot on people should put their differences aside for the sake of the nation - someone tell Morgan

Oiwe - 5 December 2016

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.