Whither the grand coalition?

HARARE - No love lost is an old adage too tiring to hear but which refuses to go in Zimbabwe’s polarised political theatre.

There is MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, People’s Democratic Party front man Tendai Biti, newcomer Joice Mujuru and smaller MDC formation leader Welshman Ncube — their collective goal being to form a grand coalition.

Once bosom buddies, Biti and Tsvangirai are taking long to put pencil to paper and unite as many Zimbabweans had hoped for when the latter signed successive memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with first Mujuru, then Ncube.

But even before the ink dried on the so-called MoUs that were signed amid pomp and funfair at Tsvangirai’s Highlands mansion, cracks are emerging, with senior party officials “rocking the boat.”

First it was Tsvangirai’s deputy, Nelson Chamisa, who said that his boss is the natural leader of the envisaged grand coalition of opposition parties to face Zanu PF in next year elections, and days later Mujuru’s backers responded in similar fashion, throwing the cat among the pigeons.

The fight to lead the coalition is a dangerous game considering the little time left before next year elections. So much is at stake, analysts told the Daily News on Sunday.

In hushed tones, other opposition leaders accuse Tsvangirai of behaving like a “big brother” and his followers share similar views.

“When we group to share a plate of sadza, let’s know that we have the first and last born and in our culture, the first born is given the chance to take the first bite, Tsvangirai is the first born.” This is a typical snippet of political banter doing the rounds in MDC circles — a sign of things to come when positions will be distributed.

However, Mujuru’s partners are posturing in their own corner, refusing to take that narrative. They even quote Mugabe to drive home their point.

“Mugabe has said Tsvangirai can’t lead because he did not fight in the liberation struggle, now Mujuru is here. He said Tsvangirai is not educated, Mujuru has a doctorate … Let’s have a woman for a change,” said former politburo member Dzikamai Mavhaire while addressing the National People Party rally in Gutu recently.

Observing the unfolding succession puzzle, political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said there is no reason at all for fight over positions.

He said for the coalition to gel, there is need to put four essential ingredients in the melting pot: inclusivity, respect and understanding, willingness to compromise, and a sense of partnership.

“Current attempts at coalitions in Zimbabwe will be futile as they are based on ‘who should lead’ than what they want to coalesce around. What policies and positions on land question, size of government, constitutional and electoral reforms required; economic and social policies, international relations etc should be at the centre of coalition, not who should lead it. All claptrap about coalitions in Harare borders around who should lead, and not what the coalition should deliver.

“We are therefore doomed. Unless there is serious interrogation on what a coalition is needed for rather than who should lead it, then even if without Mugabe, Zanu PF in its shambolic state will still remain in power or there will be another GNU of sorts in 2018,” Saungweme said.

Mugabe has already said they are looking “with glee” as opposition parties squabble

And only time will tell whether a survey by Afro-barometer that dismissed a grand coalition’s chances of beating Zanu PF in next year elections was spot on, but for now, the alliance is still only on paper.

Mainstream MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said the 2008 vote when former Finance minister Simba Makoni split the votes after garnering eight percent and denying Tsvangirai an outright victory, taught them an unforgettable lesson.

“Tsvangirai is a very seasoned and versatile politician. He is leading our team in the negotiations processes. So far, the team, under the guidance and direction of our party leader, has done an excellent job.

“We are on course and indeed, there are extremely good prospects for the formation of a formidable grand coalition,” Gutu said.

Comments (2)

With grand coalition its like passengers boarding a bus being driven by a drunkard. Can you imagine in the event of an accident how many lives is it going to take? will we travel 5 miles before our 200 miles destination?

Doc - 23 May 2017

They are all aware of the coming of the giant and anointed one,but wonder who will be the one,whose son or daughter is the one. Surely soon after 2018 elections ,the winds will blow and a name will be revealed and a leader appointed .Verily verily ,I say unto you,the gods are not fools and can not be fooled.The voice of the zimbabwean childrens groaning in anguish is heard in the heavens.The need for a new leader to replace His Excellency President Mugabe is known by the gods. The gods time is the best time. If we all seek supernuatural power to see what happens in the spiritual realm,we will rejoice knowing that there is a great leader coming by the fullness of the time.

Zimbabwe Peoples Choice PF ( ZPC -PF) - 3 June 2017

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