It's Tsvangirai or never: MDC

HARARE - The MDC, Zimbabwe’s largest opposition party, is digging in its heels over suggestions that the planned grand coalition should be led by a neutral person to end sharp differences over this emotive issue, saying only Morgan Tsvangirai has the stamina to face President Robert Mugabe in next year’s polls.

MDC faithful hinted to the Daily News yesterday that they might as well contest the 2018 elections separately than allow a rank outsider to step up to the plate when they have an experienced politician like Tsvangirai to finish off what they started in 1999, when the party was formed.

Only last week, Tsvangirai was in Kenya, where he is believed to have been “taking notes” from his counterpart, Raila Odinga, who is heading a coalition against President Uhuru Kenyatta in elections slated for next month.

The Daily News revealed yesterday that a section of the civil society wants a neutral leader to head the alliance to end the serious haggling among opposition leaders over who should lead the coalition.

When the MDC was established 18 years ago, the civil society, along with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, were instrumental in its formation.

A senior civil society leader, Brian Kagoro, has gone on record, saying opposition parties must choose a neutral leader, if they cannot settle for one amongst themselves.

Over the weekend, former vice president Joice Mujuru was also quoted saying they may enlist the services of a mediator to break the leadership impasse.

Mujuru, who leads the National People’s Party, claims she is the most qualified to lead the alliance because of her experience in government and her war credentials.

The security sector has in previous polls been on record saying the office of the President was a “straight jacket”, implying it can only be occupied by someone who participated in the war of liberation.

One of Mugabe’s favourite punch lines is that Tsvangirai is a coward who ran away from the guerrilla war and should not be voted for presidency.

But in the court of public opinion, the former vice president is trailing Tsvangirai, whom many neutrals feel has the numbers on his side to give Mugabe a good run for his money.

While all the opposition parties are in agreement that a coalition is the only way to go, the leadership issue has been dominating the talks, with MDC vice president, Nelson Chamisa, saying only Tsvangirai is qualified to lead the grouping.

“Without being bullish or macho, it is my humble submission that for any coalition to gain traction with the people of Zimbabwe, there has to be a rallying point, there has to be a centre that holds and in the democratic struggle we have our best foot forward in a man dreaded and feared by the opposition Zanu PF party and that focal point is Tsvangirai,” Chamisa said in an interview with the Daily News, adding that his boss had a track record, having defeated Mugabe in the first round of the 2008 poll although he fell short of achieving the threshold required to be declared victorious.

“ . . . so let us not major on minors while we minor in major things, creating all this hullabaloo about who will lead”, he said.

MDC officials still maintain, however, that they are not looking back on the idea of forming a coalition.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said that their detractors are salivating and wishing the collapse of the coalition talks, adding that this will not happen.

“Our coalition strategy as the MDC led by . . . Tsvangirai has always been very clear and unambiguous. We don’t negotiate in the media and neither do we negotiate in public.

“ . . . Tsvangirai is personally handling the coalition negotiations process and so far, we are perfectly happy with the progress that has been made. Let me make it abundantly clear that there is no irretrievable breakdown in our relationship with other opposition political parties, and that includes the NPP led by Joice Mujuru,” Gutu said.

The coalition is being discussed amid claims that the Zanu PF party is running scared and is keenly following on the developments, hoping the process will be scuttled along the way.

The idea of a coalition received a boost recently when Tsvangirai signed Memorandums of Understanding with Mujuru and Welshman Ncube’s smaller MDC faction.

Analysts are unanimous that too many political parties will no doubt split the votes in favour of Zanu PF.

In the 2008 polls, Tsvangirai was denied outright victory after Simba Makoni of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn entered the presidential race a few months before the polls and managed to get eight percent of the votes. Tsvangirai’s followers claim the MDC leader could have sealed it in the first round without the need for a run-off that saw Tsvangirai pulling out citing widespread violence against his supporters and officials.

Zimbabwe currently has over 40 opposition political parties, some of which are believed to have been created by Zanu PF to create confusion and divide the votes.

Only last week, former Industry and International Trade minister Nkosana Moyo, launched his political group Alliance for the People’s Agenda in Harare.

The former African Development Bank vice president had a short stint in Mugabe’s administration, as his Industry and Trade minister between 2000 and 2001, before suddenly resigning to retrace his footsteps in business, disenchanted with his leadership style.

This was preceded by another announcement by Harare lawyer Fadzayi Mahere that she will also stand as an independent for the Mt Pleasant parliamentary seat.

Ncube’s party yesterday said that there are no disagreements in as far as they are concerned in terms of the formation of a coalition ahead of the 2018 elections.

The party’s spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said that he is not aware of any disagreements threatening the coalition building process.

“The issue of a mediator is not anywhere closer to the negotiating table. As far as we are concerned the bilateral and multilateral engagements are currently progressing quite well. The MDC is too committed to sincere negotiations and is engaging other political parties in good faith. Mediation is a conflict killing approach and works very well when partners are in disagreements, it works but not now,” Chihwayi said.

Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party spokesperson, Jacob Mafume, said the focus right now has to be on forming the coalition as opposed to who must lead.

“We have said let’s have the coalition first. We run the risk of having leaders without the coalition. We can agree on the process of choosing a leader in that agreement. If people want a mediator it’s okay but I do believe that people can present their views and work something out,” Mafume said.

Political analyst Eldred Masunungure told the Daily News that the country’s political situation does not give space for another political party that seriously expects to get traction.

“The idea of launching a political party just a year before an election is not strategic. There are already too many political parties. It (forming a new party) would worsen the situation.

“For Zanu PF, they will be celebrating, it would actually say the more the merrier. I don’t think the electorate will buy into the new formation,” Masunungure said.

Political analyst Gladys Hlatywayo said in as far as it is a democratic right for people to form their own political parties, it obviously negatively impacts on the outcome.

“It’s more strategic to have one opposition presidential candidate in the 2018 election in order not to split the vote,” said Hlatywayo.

Comments (32)

Only Morgen Tsvangirai has the stamina to face Robert Mugabe in the 2018 elections-its ok, lets see it. 2018 will come, we want to see the difference with other past elections

addmore gudo - 4 July 2017

Chamisa is right,,it's Tsvangirai or never.The opposition was build&groomed by MDC,,all ather political parties can not pull large numbers.They are not tested&we don't know exactly what they stand for. They will be no successful zanu pf defeat based on any organisation excluding Tsvangirai leadership,never not now,,may be in another generation to come.Let them try&prove themselves. It's coalition of disappointments.

Matsotsi - 4 July 2017

Tsvangirai & his proxies must accept the possiblity of him not being elected or nominated the coalition leader,if at all they are real democrats

addmore gudo - 4 July 2017

Tsvangirai is capable of leading the coalition.Who is better than Tsvangirai,lets tell each other the truth.Mai Mujuru is too far, we cant even trust her.She is a puppet who has failed in government.After all we don't need thieves and corruptors like Mujuru to lead people.Tsvangirai is the main man in this game.

rockford - 4 July 2017

Chief addmore gudo you seem to be contradicting yourself. The first comment you routing for chematama and the second you are vilifying him and his party. Get your act right Mr Humbiro!!!

Madhunamutuna - 4 July 2017

Yes. It's Save or never. We said it yesterday, I wonder why small dogs are making a lot of noise heee we want a mediator hee neutral heee experience. We are not going to major the minor.

Facts - 4 July 2017

Tsvangirai is just a desperado, he knows he cannot beat the incumbent that is why he is going the coalition route. If he was confident of victory on his own he would have told those who touted for the coalition to get lost.

gee hellaz - 4 July 2017

Tsvangirai is just a desperado, he knows he cannot beat the incumbent that is why he is going the coalition route. If he was confident of victory on his own he would have told those who touted for the coalition to get lost.

gee hellaz - 4 July 2017

Tsvangirai is just a desperado, he knows he cannot beat the incumbent that is why he is going the coalition route. If he was confident of victory on his own he would have told those who touted for the coalition to get lost.

gee hellaz - 4 July 2017

Tsvangirai is the only game in town, he leads others follow on the so called coalition. The Coalition is being called for by individuals with briefcase parties who have selfish motives for positions or those who are being fronted by zanupf.

Sinyo - 4 July 2017

Gudo is confused,,he don't know the difference between good &bad.His comments based on jealous not facts.Let me ask u Gudo,,,if u were on Tsvangirai position what were u going to do???,Toti une company yako irikufaya pouts mumwewo achiti ndodakushanda mwene uchinyatsoona kuti munhu uuu anezvishoma zvekuwedzera,then munhu uyu oti ndiye anoda kuvapanyanga iwe wotora position yepasi,,does that make sense???Even u,u know that u talking rubbish.We don't know exactly why u so against Tsvangirai but u need to keep yr comments to yrself because u just embarrassing yrself.

Matsotsi - 4 July 2017

Oye Tsvangirai wacho akanyarara,,hapana patakambomunzwa achitaura nezvaarikupomerwa.Only itwo tuma party tudiki twacho nditwo twurikukuma.We as Zimbabweans are saying we need Tsvangirai to lead.MDC people are saying,as a big party they need to verify all the small political parties just to see if they are genuine or not&I think they are right.We know MDC very well but we don't know these ather newly formed opposition so they is need for verification&u can't just impose someone u don't that's the truth.We as Zimbabweans we need to put someone we trust&know very well

Matsotsi - 4 July 2017

In politics there is nothing called jealous but only one's personal views, my friend Matsotsi & one person's personal views matters not in the long run,since they will b overshadowed by the majority's.The other point Matsotsi is neither MDC nor Coalition of opposition parties can not be n way Tsvangirai's personal-these supposed to be public enties &Tsvangirai is just mere individual despite the fact that he may have supporters forming the larger group within the entity.Last but not least Tsvangirai can not own nor monopolise the fight for democracy in Zimbabwe-it belongs to the public-me&you included nomatter how much we may differ in views abt the issue-so I am free

addmore gudo - 4 July 2017

...neither MDC nor Coalition of opposition parties can be in n way Tsvangirai's personal companies--these are supposed to be public enties &Tsvangirai is just a mere individual despite the fact that he may have supporters forming the larger group within the Iam also free to express my views on public enties& issues

addmore gudo - 4 July 2017


dof - 4 July 2017

the only thing which is needed is free and fair election not coalition and i bet you tsvangirai will win it with more than 75%. even if there is going to be a coalition with the current system in place its just wast of time grandad bob will still rig

cheetah - 4 July 2017

The whole issue is about people who know they cannot amount to anything hence matanyadzana matongo eparuware. Morgan is the way. In fact I am so worried that Morgan continues to give these vultures audience. They know they are nothing without him. Now they are talking of a neutral someone, nonsense , it means that person must not be a Zimbabwean. No Zimbabwean can be neutral. Please MDC don't be gullible, go it alone

moyo - 4 July 2017

coalition then vote for the right candidate to lead.numbers dont mean anything.start showing how democratic you say you are.we only need someone qualified for that job.dont start showing us your real colours.can see people singing for posts inthe government.prove me wrong if i am lying.

on alaigned - 4 July 2017

A healthy situation for our country is to have more political shops to choose from. A coalition must be done or negotiated inside parliament during deliberations. What smaller parties should be doing is to campaign and at least get some seats in local councils and parliament. Thats the only healthy route where they can sit with big boys on table. This scenario is more of a GNU in making which is bloated and lacks accountability hardly runs smoothly. Each political party for itself and winner takes all, and can invite whoever he wants in new GVT at own discretion. Mdc-t has been patronizing these smaller outfits for too long its time to tell them to go p*** off. If these smaller parties really loves this country they should simply stand down and rally behind mdc-t they may get some respect in the aftermath.

X-MAN IV - 4 July 2017

It seems many pple don not understand what coalition is , Coalition is kanzatu political parties must have almost same number of supporters of which if put together will out number that of their opponent . Now in this case Mujuru has no support which is close to that of Morgan which is 1.6 m true voters not rigged ones It will be insane then to have her just come and say she wants to lead us .Actually Mujuru will split some few remaining votes from zanu and that is good for the opposition .It is better to suspend this coalition thing very fast before shiit happens .ZANU is finished we need to plan how to finish it off in style . Get rid of Mujuru she can go lead code they is a vacancy for there .Sleeping with a commander in some bush squalor camps in Moza does not make her our liberate or earn her respect she is just a muntu like anyone . .

Diibulaanyika - 4 July 2017

A week is too long for any political change.The electorate may decide to abandon Tsvangirai's party which has the "The Big Brother" mentality.What people should also consider is that Tsvangirai's health is not at its best.It doesn't make any sense to demand that Bob should step down on the grounds of ill health and old age yet at the same time allow a person who is also ailing to contest for the country's to job who is equally going to spend public funds to foot a new and huge medical bill.He has done a lot,he should be allowed to retire from active politics and start writing his memoirs.

Gen. Spinola - 4 July 2017

Only fools of coarse can want to abandon a leader like Morgan and choose to follow a mafikizolo Mujuru who has nothing to offer .people are saying no longer want Mugabe because he has failed to lead them not that he is old that is a lie , Morgan is recovering and we can not abandon him just because he got ill after 18 yrs leading and uniting us a nation and has never done any wrong to us . We were not borne yesterday we know very well that Mujuru is a zanu project that wants to slow down Save and destroy MDC T . But manyangira yawona . Pamberi na Save

Chimedza matombo - 4 July 2017

Kurwara kunongouya vanhu makatarisa. Chamisa avakutorwara vanhu takasvinura. Hapana chinokunda mushandira pamwe. Kana MDC ikati yavakuita yega, then we are rest assured that a repeat of 2013 results is inevitable. As far as Chamisa is concerned, in his dream land, MDC is already running Zimbabwe. Let me say to Chamisa, sahwira, its not as easy as ABC. Please, work up and smell the coffee, Chamisa you are not thinking out of the box, mungatopedza makumi emakore muchinorota chete. Just try and remember your last rally before elections in 2013, you were confident that you were going to win but it was never to be.

nhemacena - 4 July 2017

Morgan has shown tenacity and perseverence in the face of repressive and abrasive Mugabe system. Morgan has shown he has that stamina and dedication to lead the PEOPLE. Its wisdom, experience, and not necessarily book knowledge that underpins successful management and accomplishing set goals in such big formations as the MDC. Gudo et al, I would urge you to examine what the other "educated fools" have done with their formations. And Mujuru is just a spin, or spit from the Zanu system. Fighting a war, as a soldier yes, but that does not translate into managing a country!!

Will Blackman - 5 July 2017

Mujuru akatorwa nana Mutasa mushure mekukunge avimbisa Mutasa bonde,,mutasa apedza naye akanga avakukandira kunana Gumbo ndipo pakabvondoka nyaya,,akazochechuka avakuitwa chikorobho.May be akazama kuna Tsvangirai akaona kuti zvirikuramba kkkkkkkkk

Matsotsi - 5 July 2017


MAFIKIZOLO - 5 July 2017


dofo - 5 July 2017

tough tok kkkkkkkkk . dont forget biological termination

wiskycharlie - 5 July 2017

MDC-T being the largest political party has been tested enough since its formation so much that I have no doubts in its capability to do far much better what the ruling ZANU-PF has done for the past 37 years. This should be a time for Morgen Tsvangirai and his party to show what they are made of. They have survived up this rightful time when most people can prove that the ruling party is not interested in serving the electorate. MDC-T have proved beyond any reasonable doubt by making positive changes when they were part of the Unit Government. They were able to introduce a multiple currency which includes the Us dollar, a national constitution, delivery services, shops filled with products and many others. They are advocating for land to be allocated to all deserving.

Pythias Makonese - 5 July 2017

But undeniable truths on the ground clearly shows that the majority on the zimbabwean electorate are suspicious of Tsvangirai's presidency-the only REAL reason why he LOSES elections all the time - minus false claims of election rigging of course;bec zec allows agents of all political parties to inspect,follow&guard ballot boxes upto the end of the process at all polling stations nation wide.Lets go to 2018,you will find Tsvangirai rejected again by the electorate.Enda kumaruwa kwacho utaure nezva Tsvangirai unouraiwa.Even kana kuMusha kwake kuBuhera avamudi.Is not appealing the larger section of the electorate-the only reason he loses.We are only saying lets find some more appealing front for the opposition to win.Violence yes, itz there but what extend does it really afact Tsvangirai bec lets not pretend people are fools,n one is able to really force them where they exactly want to put their votes,they know wani kuti they vote alone.Dzinongova shungu dze ma vocal Tsvangirai supporters-kunyanya noise

addmore gudo - 5 July 2017

You will find that itz only you & yr friend who want to vote Tsvangirai into power- so is not the way but us all

addmore gudo - 5 July 2017

Gudo this is not a platform to display your baboon antics.On your first comment when you said Morgan is the only person with the stamina to face Mugabe in 2018 elections and you go on to contradict yourself in your last comment.It is people like you with warped minds who have made our country a laughing stock in this whole wide world. You don't know exactly what you want.One day you are supporting dictatorship,the next day you seem to support democracy albeit with a thinly veiled tone.You don't even vote,your business is to throw spanners in the work of democracy starved people.Just shut the hell up and go hang.Its like you were never born.

Janana wa Bikaz - 5 July 2017

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