Mujuru pursuing other 2018 deals

HARARE - Former vice president and now leader of the fledgling National People’s Party (NPP), Joice Mujuru — who recently signed a preliminary 2018 electoral pact with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai — is negotiating similar deals with other smaller opposition parties.

Mujuru’s spokesperson, Gift Nyandoro, confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that they were currently engaged in negotiations with the likes of former Finance minister Tendai Biti, who now leads the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and is yet to reach an electoral pact with Tsvangirai ahead of the make-or-break 2018 national elections.

“It is true that as NPP we have been having formal, informal, bilateral and multilateral engagements with other opposition parties that we perceive as progressive.

“You will recall that before we rebranded from ZPF (Zimbabwe People First) to NPP, PDP members  consistently attended our rallies in solidarity with us and what you are about to see anytime soon is a culmination of those engagements that have been going on underground, which are coming to fruition  as we move to make sure that the grand coalition becomes a reality,” he said.

But sources linked to the NPP who also spoke to the Daily News yesterday claimed that Mujuru was engaging with other opposition parties to strengthen her position in her ongoing discussions with Tsvangirai, as she allegedly viewed herself as “a definite alternative” to the popular MDC leader.

In the meantime, Mujuru is also expected to address multiple rallies around the country, with the aim of reaching out to the rural vote which has in the past been reluctant to, or bullied against voting for the opposition by Zanu PF apparatchiks.

She is scheduled to address her first rally at Maungwa Business Centre in Gutu South, Masvingo, tomorrow — with some leaders of other smaller opposition parties expected to be present at the gathering.

Mujuru has suffered a number of setbacks over the past few months, with her original opposition party, ZPF, imploding spectacularly earlier this year. NPP is now also seemingly failing to hold its national convention to elect its substantive leadership.

As a result, she has been forced by these circumstances to play second fiddle to Tsvangirai, who is widely seen as the opposition’s major hope in their quest to dethrone President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF from power in 2018.

But there is also an appreciation among the country’s political observers that an electoral pact involving Tsvangirai and Mujuru stands a good chance of giving Mugabe and Zanu PF a run for their money next year.

Kent University law lecturer Alex Magaisa is among those who say it is crucial for Mujuru and Tsvangirai to work together, instead of seeking to outsmart each other.

“The political reality is that Tsvangirai remains the main opposition leader with the capacity to draw the largest numbers among his peers.

“She (Mujuru) has done very well so far to establish a cordial working relationship with Tsvangirai, and should not be misled into thinking she must compete rather than work with him. They are stronger together.

“It’s also time to acknowledge and work with political realities or the opposition is doomed,” Magaisa said.

Comments (1)

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khu - 11 May 2017

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