Mujuru, Tsvangirai in alliance deadlock

HARARE - A High-level meeting convened by leaders of the MDC and the National People’s Party (NPP) in Harare on Friday failed to end the bickering between Joice Mujuru and Morgan Tsvangirai, whose negotiating teams are now pressed for time to strike an acceptable deal before elections which could be due early next year.

Although the two politicians are desperate to avoid splitting the vote at the 2018 elections, the Daily News has it on good authority that there is really nothing at the moment to suggest that a deal could be inked anytime soon, especially in view of the gravity of the unresolved issues separating them.

By the time their meeting ended on Friday, Tsvangirai and Mujuru were still to agree on the fundamental issues.

These included the leadership of the grand coalition that would confront President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF at the forthcoming polls, and the allocation of seats among their aspiring legislators.

Crucially, while Tsvangirai has already been appointed leader of the MDC Alliance, Mujuru does not recognise his endorsement.

In fact, Mujuru is adamant that she deserves the opportunity to lead the coalition on account of her experience in statecraft, her liberation war credentials, and gender appeal.

According to Mujuru, Tsvangirai should come in as either her deputy or prime minister in the event that they proceed to win the polls and form the next government.

Insiders familiar with the negotiations told the Daily News that Mujuru came for the meeting demanding to field NPP candidates in 80 National Assembly seats out of the 210 available. But after intense negotiations, she later halved the figure.

This could turn out to be a deal breaker as that would leave Tsvangirai’s MDC and the other seven MDC Alliance partners having to share the remaining 170 seats.

Tsvangirai has already sealed an electoral pact with seven political parties which include formations that sprung out of the MDC in 2005 and 2014, namely Welshman Ncube’s MDC and Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party.

The former trade unionist, who has been in the game since 1999 when the MDC was formed, is adamant that he alone has what it takes to end Mugabe’s rule and that his officials must be allowed to grab choice seats.

In April, Tsvangirai and Mujuru signed a Memorandum of Understanding, signifying their commitment to working together and fielding a single candidate to challenge Mugabe in next year’s presidential race.

Tsvangirai wants Mujuru to come in as a vice president — hoping to appease the military which has been insistent that the office of the president can only be occupied by someone with liberation war history — or there is no deal.

“Tsvangirai is also arguing that the vice president of the coalition can only be chosen after elections and that the post must be given to a person whose party wins more seats than the others,” said one of the insiders.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, confirmed the meeting to the Daily News yesterday.

“Yes, I can confirm that the two met last Friday but I cannot divulge the details of the meeting to the public. There is nothing wrong about two Zimbabweans meeting,” said Tamborinyoka.

NPP’s chairperson Dzikamai Mavhaire declined to comment, saying he was in the dark about the issue.

Efforts to get comment from Mujuru’s spokesperson, Gift Nyandoro, and NPP spokesperson, Jeffreyson Chitando, were fruitless as their mobile phones were not reachable.

Before Friday’s meeting, Nyandoro had highlighted that Tsvangirai and Mujuru were attending to sticky issues.

“We are almost there; there could be an announcement any day any time soon. I can assure you that the principals will be meeting at any day, any time to discuss the issue. I disagree with those who think that the coalition talks between NPP and MDC are now dead. Yes, time is running out but this is a process; we are expecting something fruitful soon,” he was quoted saying.

“The NPP demonstrated that a journey of any democratic political party starts by being given mandate by the people. There is need to bring finality to the coalition talks. I can assure you that the party is now in full swing,” Nyandoro said, following the NPP’s inaugural convention attended by the MDC leader recently.

At the convention, Tsvangirai received a standing ovation when he promised NPP supporters that a coalition with Mujuru would be formed no matter what if the country’s deeply-divided opposition parties were to end Mugabe’s 37-year rule.

He emphasised that there were no differences, politically, or in terms of policy between Mujuru’s party, and the MDC.

In April, Tsvangirai and Mujuru signed a Memorandum of Understanding, signifying their commitment to working together and fielding a single candidate to challenge Mugabe in next year’s presidential race.

With possibly less than six months before the election, the MDC is upbeat that a deal would be consummated just in time for the polls.

“Of course, these kinds of deliberations are always time-bound. The next stage will be to mount a serious and sustained fight for electoral reforms,” said MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu.

“We are acutely aware of the fact that the Zanu PF regime will stop at nothing to steal the people’s vote next year. The electoral playing field has to be levelled or else the grand coalition will count for absolutely nothing.”

Analysts are not convinced.

They believe that the country’s opposition parties must wrap up their talks, hit the campaign trail and focus on key issues of the electoral processes.

Political analyst Vivid Gwede averred that the coalition was just the messenger, not the message.

He said by constantly highlighting the coalition’s internal dynamics rather than particular policy options, the messenger risks being seen as the message.

“Should there be any problems with the coalition, it will be seen as the end of the message. The MDC’s policy alternatives are fairly familiar such as job creation through investment promotion, non-belligerent foreign policy, rationalisation of land reform, anti-corruption, human rights and democracy, but they need to be really re-emphasised and pictured in particular terms during elections,” said Gwede.

“This is not loud in its current political communication; neither did we hear this emphasis from the current shadow cabinet. Such strategic loopholes create a false, but dangerous illusion that the opposition has no message. Yet it actually has competitive policy alternatives to the ones pursued by the ruling party. Election campaigns are rare opportunities for political parties to be particular and detailed about their programmes on development.”

Social commentator Rashweat Mukundu said elections were more about the process, voting and defending the vote and not coalitions, which are a political strategy not an end in themselves.

“Priorities seem lost and energy expended on peripheral issues,” he said.

Political activist Farai Maguwu suspects that the coalition agenda could have been hijacked by State agents in order to weaken Zanu PF’s rivals.

“Each party must simply go and campaign on its own and then let them talk after the election. Then each party will be speaking on the basis of the mandate it got from the voters,” reasons Maguwu.

Peace activist Jestina Mukoko believes the opposition parties must invest more in encouraging Zimbabweans to register to vote and rolling out their election campaigns.

She said while it might have been a good idea to put to bed the issue of the coalition and thus approach the citizenry with one voice, “the opposition could use a multi-pronged approach where if they still feel they need to score on the coalition part they could have that go on while voter education and election campaign roll out also go on”.

Comments (12)

Nhai I am a bit supprised that some individual without even an MP a Canselor or even ano jobora mapepa mu council wants more power like that have never participated in any election just from the blues regai siyanayi nazvo Save why wasting our time not your tyme Morgan you narrowly beat the seating president and you controll much stake why waste tyme with these mafikizola infact Joice should have come in as a joining person from cell as card carrying member bcz she has offered nothing she has nothing to offer War credentials do we eat that.

MUJOBO WEMA PEPA - 22 August 2017

given that joice has a track record having joined politics in the early seventies whilst tsvangison was busy flirting with the wives of zanla forces left behind by their husbands who were in moza,from 1980 to 2013 joice gained invaluable experience in govt whilst tsvangirai first in the 1980 was a volunteer for gukurahundi forces in matebeland and only entering fulltime party politics in 1999,so if the mdc coalition wants to in dignity,they must ask joice to lead but if its another thumping they want then the clueless tsvangirayi must lead,and as usul he will cry,'rigging' after the electorate rejects him,what a familiar story!!!!

truth - 22 August 2017

Save mhanyai nevamuinavo ivavo.Iyo ngaamhanye ega tione akawana even one seat .

chimuti - 22 August 2017

One party which has never won a seat demands 40 seats and eight parties, comprising some who defeated ZANU PF share 170 seats! What kind of logic is this? Who does Mujuru think she is? Leave her out of the coalition and let her form her own!!

Jonso - 22 August 2017

The truth comes out, because anyone supported by @truth has got to be ZANU It follows therefore that Morgan should not be wasting his time with the likes of Joice Mujuru, a snake in the grass,

Dunlop Munjanja - 22 August 2017

Please MT leave this woman alone to chart her own political trail. She promised the rural vote and to divulge the rigging process but none of that has come about. That we now have MDC Alliance on the ballot paper (instead of various MDC flavours) is a strong enough mission to begin penetrating the rurals. Stop wasting time with amai ava havasi ku adder value.

Sagitarr - 22 August 2017

The so-called "grand coalition' is facing an imminent grand defeat. This copy cat of Kenya's Raila Ondinga can only yield a mouningful Tsvangirai; 'rigging, rigging, rigging! For starters, before even the 'match day' has been pronounced one opponent is already seeing a biased referee in ZEC. In 1980, Zanu P.F WON under worse conditions. The result of the present conditions is the continueos amendments and the complete overhaul of the inherited minority regime constitution in a bid to make Tsvangirai and opposition political parties to win elections. However, the results are almost the same. The law is just a piece of paper; people are the ones who do the actual voting. The good thing is that the opposition is much aware and alive to their shortcomings, i.e. lack of necessary numbers or follows to see them winning convincingly any election........

ivhukuvanhu chete chete - 22 August 2017

The so-called "grand coalition' is facing an imminent grand defeat. This copy cat of Kenya's Raila Ondinga can only yield a mouningful Tsvangirai; 'rigging, rigging, rigging! For starters, before even the 'match day' has been pronounced one opponent is already seeing a biased referee in ZEC. In 1980, Zanu P.F WON under worse conditions. The result of the present conditions is the continueos amendments and the complete overhaul of the inherited minority regime constitution in a bid to make Tsvangirai and opposition political parties to win elections. However, the results are almost the same. The law is just a piece of paper; people are the ones who do the actual voting. The good thing is that the opposition is much aware and alive to their shortcomings, i.e. lack of necessary numbers or follows to see them winning convincingly any election........

ivhukuvanhu chete chete - 22 August 2017

but joice will never split the vote. she has no vote to begin with. she has no support at all. morgan leave her be. shes just being selfish, opportunistic as she is used to

kelly - 23 August 2017

MDC-A will never win an election if their aim is just to unseat Mugabe. This is not a message to the electorate. Articulate policy issues in basic plain language to the electorate and see what happens.

Wasu Samaz - 23 August 2017

Wasu Samaz, you are think with your bums.Whats the point of having elections if it is not to unseat the person at the helm?Do you think people participate in elections in order to retain the status quo?Policy issues will remai policy issues if you are not elected.Unopenga kunge Marujata!

Janana wa Bikaz - 23 August 2017

This coalition must be discontinued its not going to be good for the populace. These lads are init for selfish ends thats why there are jostling for positions even before wining the election.

Sinyo - 23 August 2017

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.