Dark horse to lead coalition

HARARE - A mediator may be called in to narrow the differences among the country’s opposition political parties that are quibbling over who should shepherd the mooted grand coalition to confront Zanu PF’s President Robert Mugabe at next year’s crucial polls, the Daily News can report.

This comes amid a strong push for a neutral person to lead the alliance as it also emerged over the weekend that Mugabe, who has been at the helm of his party since 1975, and has led Zimbabwe for an uninterrupted 37 years, may call for elections in the first quarter of next year to catch his rivals flat-footed.

Zimbabwe’s opposition parties, numbering up to 40, are in disarray over the formation of a grand coalition to tackle Mugabe at the polls.

Two parallel initiatives are being considered to depopulate the contest for positions, but none of them has made any headway.

Former Prime Minister and MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai has, in the past few months, signed memorandums of understanding with key opposition leaders, among them former vice president Joice Mujuru and Welshman Ncube, but very little progress has been made to take these forward.

Mujuru has lately been pursuing another arrangement under the auspices of the Coalition of Democrats (Code), which has so far brought together six opposition parties seeking to find each other ahead of the polls.

With Mugabe now in an election mode, mobilising the youth vote across the width and breadth of the country to rally behind his candidature in the wake of his fallout with the former liberation war fighters last year, there is panic among opposition parties that are sensing their waterloo at the polls if they do not put their act together.

Over the weekend, Mujuru hinted in an interview with the Daily News on Sunday that they may rope in a mediator to break the impasse.

“We are grouping in a good way, getting to understand each other. And where we are failing to understand each other, we are trying to minimise the differences. If we had not ironed out our pre-independence differences, we would not have had the independence that we are enjoying today,” said Mujuru.

“Three months were spent at Lancaster, negotiating our independence and we are seeking to do the same with our negotiations for a grand coalition. We may get to a stage where we may bring in a mediator to help us break the deadlock if we fail to iron out some of the things because we want the coalition as soon as possible.”

Mujuru appeared to suggest that there was no trust among the opposition political parties, especially among the various MDC formations.

Since its formation 1999, the MDC has split more than twice.

Ncube and his group were the first to break away from Tsvangirai in 2005, followed by Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma in 2014.

They all cited irreconcilable differences with Tsvangirai, a former secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

“We have done so much in building the coalition but everything goes with trust; don’t forget that a lot of these opposition parties are mutations of the MDC so trust is a major issue, and to try and get them back is not going to be easy even though our objectives are the same,” said Mujuru.

The Daily News can reveal that there is a strong push for a dark horse to lead the grand coalition seen as the only option the opposition have to unseat Mugabe, who enjoys the power of incumbency.

Renowned civil society leader and activist, Brian Kagoro, seemed to confirm these manoeuvres when he urged the opposition political parties to choose a neutral leader, if they cannot settle for one among themselves.

Several people have been saying Tsvangirai is suitably qualified to lead the coalition because of the number of his followers, while Mujuru argued that she should lead the coalition because of her experience in government and her war credentials.

Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader, Simba Makoni, also prefers Tsvangirai and so does former Cabinet minister Didymus Mutasa, who has previously praised the former trade unionist, saying he had persevered against all odds in his push for a more democratic Zimbabwe.

Biti has also previously appealed to Tsvangirai to move decisively on the alliance.

But Kagoro differed, saying the issue of leadership must not be a stalling factor in the formation of a coalition.

“But it is also useful for me to caution those who sacrificed yesterday . . . that to detain the future in the past is not an exercise of clarity but an exercise of slavery because your past was necessary to a future with or without you,” Kagoro told guests at a Sapes Trust discussion forum.

“And this is why the struggle should not be whether its Morgan Tsvangirai, Joice Mujuru, Makoni, or Biti or (Dumiso) Dabengwa, who leads the coalition. If they can’t agree amongst themselves on who should lead, let them find a neutral person to lead because, I know they are saying to Zimbabweans we are not narcissistic, self-interested leaders, we are interested in the journey of transformation and not necessarily just the replacement of Robert with a younger version of an autocrat.

“So if this is the agenda, why is the question of who is the leader necessarily important, if the ideas that lead remain of those who are on the podium (Makoni, Mujuru, Biti and Dabengwa) . . .,” Kagoro said.

The electoral field has been congested even more with former Industry and International Trade minister Nkosana Moyo now in the running as well for the top job.

Moyo announced he would be running for president on Thursday last week, and seems not keen on combining forces with the other opposition parties.

Political analysts are, however, divided over the selection of a neutral candidate.

Shakespeare Hamauswa, a political analyst, said while it is an ideal suggestion, its proponents are detached from the sticking issues surrounding the negotiations.

He said the parties should agree on pre and post-election pacts, model or framework of sharing parliamentary seats and all other elected positions, adding that the coalition was being frustrated by the fact that Mujuru’s National People’s Party and the people negotiating the pact are bitter about Tsvangirai and they are not ready to render their loyalty to him.

“A neutral person will be ideal but I don’t think we can find such a person. MDC can do it alone basing on how it has performed since its inception, because it only suffered a mysterious defeat once that is in 2013. What is likely to happen is that Mujuru might take up the leadership of Code then Morgan will coalesce with some parties within and outside Code,” said Hamauswa.

Political analyst and University of Zimbabwe lecturer Eldred Masunungure said the suggestion will not make sense in the Zimbabwean context.

“It doesn’t make sense, it does not work that way, Zimbabwean politics is party politics. The parties have to negotiate on who is supposed to lead, and if it is about numbers it would benefit Morgan, who is seen as the face of the opposition. But some say there is need for someone with liberation war credentials which would benefit Joice Mujuru. So, I don’t see the idea of a neutral candidate as feasible,” Masunungure said.

He said the electorate tends to support the candidacy of their own party leader, adding that the idea of a neutral leader is theoretically good but practically flawed.

Comments (20)

The idea of a neutral person as coalition leader will clearly not work bec Tsvangirai actually believes more in himself than he does in his partners& therefore is unlikely to agree in n option without him at the top.The only way forward is for the rest of all other opposition groups to make this unity of purpose in code & leave Tsvangirai& his group out of the equestion.Bec the so called coalition shld not b intended only to solve the immediate problem of removing Mugabe but also to establish future democratic standards which are not based in n individual pride but which hv their roots in the common national cause for a nation which once had such a bad experience with a similar scenario set up by Mugabe who remained selfishly at the helm of his party since 1975 without allowing talent fr the pool to serve the nation which came to the present problems

addmore gudo - 3 July 2017

This woman is delusional - which "independence" are we "enjoying" today? This land-locked country virtually cannot stand on its own - no currency, no power security, no food security, not much of an economy, 95% UNEMPLOYMENT please. We seem to be DEPENDANT so much on what doesn't belong to us at all!

Sagitarr - 3 July 2017

She is not worth to lead coalition because of her 34 years experience of destruction. Without Morgan being a leader, we are going to stand in as MDC-T alone. You small parties why don't you submit yourselves to the big and only part that defeated and cause headaches to zanu. We can do it without npp I tell you. She's power hungry that's all. Remember time is no longer in our side while she's buying time for nothing. Let our national council decide what to do with this lady faster faster.

Facts - 3 July 2017

How can a person like Mujuru lead a coalition when day in day out pple a defecting from here fragile disorganized party , If it is not Morgan who stood with us through thick and thin then to lead the coalition then lets not have a coalition at all . Actually from start we warned that Mujuru is very clumsy and there to cause confusion and must be left alone Morgan has support and will defeat zanu single handed in fact Mujuru will split zanu votes not opposition votes .

Diibulaanyika - 3 July 2017

How can a person like Mujuru lead a coalition when day in day out pple a defecting from here fragile disorganized party , If it is not Morgan who stood with us through thick and thin then to lead the coalition then lets not have a coalition at all . Actually from start we warned that Mujuru is very clumsy and there to cause confusion and must be left alone Morgan has support and will defeat zanu single handed in fact Mujuru will split zanu votes not opposition votes .

Diibulaanyika - 3 July 2017

I wish Daily News would publish my Opinion piece on Nkosana Moyo - To Run or No To. It explains that if Tsvangirai had the nation's interest at heart, he would rope in NM and make him lead the after winning MT becomes a VP. The coalition has too many varied interests where if they get into power, nothing will be achieved but fight each other. We need a person like NM to turn the economy around, while we leave MT to sort out the political mess that will ensue from the coalition. This will even balloon MT's legacy of really fighting for people power and win on the economy side. But we know even he wants Mugabe's seat then fill cabinet with half capable ple who think they should be rewarded for fighting Zanu 18 years.

Zuze - 3 July 2017

Remember lets not bring zanu through back door people do not want zanu anymore to lead them and Mujuru is zanu

Dave - 3 July 2017

To hell with this coalition nonsense, the MDC can go it alone. Forget about Code and all this other 60 something parties, they are just a bunch of opportunists who will not achieve anything including this boy called Nkosana

Ziggy Zigawo - 3 July 2017

People want Save to lead them not mafikizolo in opposition just come abd cause confusion to us and we are not desperate for a leader we have one in Save

Chimedza matombo - 3 July 2017

With 1 6 m voters under his belt SURELY Morgan deserve to lead the coalition common sense tells us that As for Mujuru is just a rich house wife who can not even run a spanza shop . Actually we are gradually getting fed up with up her that is why sekuru Mutasa chased her away from people first /

SIBONGILE - 3 July 2017

anything excluding tsvangirai as president is rubbish. mujuru wants to come and lead opposition yet she failed to sympathise with us when she had power. joyisi kwana

chatunga - 4 July 2017

Politics is about numbers and thats a fact,so to try and find a neutral person who in most cases will be a novice in opposition politics to lead the coalition will be suicidal.Why i say is because the coalition will need time to sell him or her to the electorate and who knows,the person may not be readily accepted by the electorate and those voters who may have wanted to ditch their traditional party zanu pf will simply retreat back to the devil they know.Tsvangirai's name is very common among the electorate and even within zanu pf itself many people even cabinet ministers adore him although they cannot show it publicly lest they are sent packing by the mafia party.

Janana wa Bikaz - 4 July 2017

The ruling party is already driving the mode imi muchiita ma prophesy, hamuna vanhu futi apa

Olivia Musviba - 4 July 2017

All our other opposition fuctionaries hv nothing to fear but to set the future path or standards in establishing our national democracy.In 1999 itz the colleagues & other party supporters who sold Tsvangirai's name to the electorate-it can b that simple-he will sn b a mere rabble.Take him head-on;some of you hav walked with him along the way,his weaknesses as far as democracy& leadership are concerned are now open to all-expose him ,our nation can not continue to hav the Mugabe type of leaders forever,itz costly for the nation-see what happens even in America candidates can try only once,even in our neighbouring countries leadership is changing hands.Start on the road now,you did it in 1999.We nologer want sacred cows-the mugabe era shld b completely out

addmore gudo - 4 July 2017

Nkosana Moyo must be neutral enough

JT - 4 July 2017

This is just jealous,,everyone knows that Tsvangirai is the man of the moment, without his leadership there is no way the coalition could enjoy victory against zanu pf. People trust Tsvangirai because they tested him before&he brought positive results.U can only win elections if u have people on yr side.Mujuru can talk as much as she can but the reality is people doesn't trust her.Her support from warvets can not give her victory because warvets a minority not majority.She is nothing without people on her side.If they don't want to put Tsvangirai on top it means they are enemies of the people,,the will of the people is very important here.What is so difficult just to give Tsvangirai even one term &after each man for himself,,just to remove Mugabe. Me I suggest that Tsvangirai must not join anyone simple!!!!

Matsotsi - 4 July 2017

The last thing Zimbabweans want is someone with experience in Mugabe's government. Experience in corruption and how to steal! Pleases keep your experience to yourself!

Jonso - 4 July 2017

People like Nkosana Moyo are good to rope in for economic recovery planning but I do not think he is politically brave enough to face the present regime and make headway no. Tsvangirai might have some weaknesses yes but he is the only man who can stand up against the powers that be and already he has taken a democratic step by grooming a pool of vice presidents to choose from kkkk.

Tawanda - 4 July 2017

no need for a new face to confuse the electorate actually this coalition thing does not work has not worked in most cases , it will be punctuated by squables and splits sa we all know some are Zanu pf at heart ,others C I O operatives MDC has not failed but bob is a Dictator who simply refuses to give up so to hell with this nonsense of coalition

mugabe must go - 4 July 2017

Who is Nkosana Moyo???Do u really know this man??What exactly did he do that can make him trustwarth. U keeping on saying Tsvangirai is a power hungry man,,what about this one,because he really know that he will never win this elections come rain thunder.Infect I know that what is just splitting of the votes&the question is to who's advantage. Lets not be fooled guys,,If we make a mistake this time,we Will regret forever. All these small political parties are bzz pointing fingers to Tsvangirai because they know they can't do anything without him.They want to use him for their gain.Why they can't form their own coalition without him rather than complaining as if Tsvangirai owns them.If Tsvangirai is selfish as they say let the people judge him by not voting for him&vote for those so called CODE.

Matsotsi - 4 July 2017

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