Coalition hits turbulence

HARARE - The mooted grand coalition of opposition political parties has been hit by severe turbulence, with observers saying it could suffer a stillbirth owing to disagreements on the implementation of the complex arrangement that many believe is the only way to end Zanu PF’s over three decades in power.

The opposition has been dogged by inter-party divisions over the mooted coalition, with two distinct groups — for and against the grouping — emerging.

From Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, to Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP), there is serious discord over its implementation, with some divergent voices accusing party leaders of unilaterally deciding to enter the coalition.

PDP secretary-general, Gorden Moyo, announced last week that they had sacked Biti as leader of the opposition outfit, claiming Lucia Matibenga was now the new leader of the party, following a misunderstanding over the party’s decision to join the MDC Alliance — a political grouping of at least seven opposition parties set to battle it out with Mugabe’s Zanu PF in next year’s elections.

The disagreements over the coalition are not only restricted to the PDP, as the Tsvangirai-led MDC, has also been in a similar predicament, where some of the party members have been opposing the idea.

A section of the MDC — backed by Tsvangirai’s deputy for 11 years, Thokozani Khupe, and party chairperson Lovemore Moyo — is unhappy with the alliance, particularly the formulae adopted by its negotiators as the basis for allocating constituencies among the participating partners.

This saw Khupe and other top MDC officials boycotting the official launch of the MDC Alliance at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, Harare in early August, including the Bulawayo launch at White City Stadium in the City of Kings in September.

With clearly less than 12 months to go to the next elections, the coalition has been wobbling, with no distinct conclusion having been made, creating chances that it might not come to fruition in time.

While the misunderstanding is emanating from a party level, the squabbling is also being escalated to inter-party with differences emerging on how to allocate seats equally between the parties involved.

In a statement, Joice Mujuru’s National People’s Party (NPP), made it clear that it preferred an equal representation of all the political parties involved.

This alone will create problems, especially with parties like MDC, which might need a large stake for commanding the highest number of supporters in the opposition.

“NPP wants a coalition that has an all-inclusive; name, logo, symbol and slogan which are neutral and not derived from one or some of the coalescing parties,” NPP secretary-general Gift Nyandoro said in a statement, viewed as a direct attack on the use of the name MDC Alliance for the coalition.

The opposition political parties have also been squabbling on who must lead the coalition, posing serious headaches that have thrown the whole process in limbo.

“We need to field our best foot forward regardless of one’s former political party, remember we will be one new organisation. NPP wants all political parties to be treated equally during the whole negotiating process

“NPP wants the presidential candidate for the coalition to be selected through a democratic process and all political parties to support the single candidate for local government, National Assembly and presidential in totality,” Nyandoro said.

Speaking to journalists after his party’s general council meeting last week, Biti admitted that the issue of unity when it comes to the coalition had been a problem across all the political parties.

“We note that the idea of unity and the principle of unity seems to be causing a challenge in the country. It’s not just in the PDP. What is happening in the PDP is also happening in other alliance partners, particularly in the MDC, and we note that the challenges appear to be emanating from one region,” Biti said.

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said the parties are chasing too many shadows, which might not work in favour of the mooted coalition.

“It will be an act of God to have a strong, viable coalition that will unseat the incumbent under these circumstances. Some players in these opposition parties look like intelligence plants of Zanu PF. With Zanu PF imploding, a genuine strong coalition would have been a government-in-waiting.

“But for us to have a coalition, we need functional political parties, not squabbling political cliques and factions. How do they coalesce when their centres don’t hold?” Saungweme queried.

Another political analyst, Rashweat Mukundu, said while the coalition was a noble idea, it is facing serious hurdles owing to squabbling and personal egos.

“The coalition is a good idea for the opposition that is unfortunately running to ground because of personal ambitions and egos. It now appears that the coalitions are not based on any strategy nor alternative policy and issues affecting people but personal ambitions. And any idea or political agenda that reeks of egos and selfishness will be judged harshly by the people,” he said.

Comments (9)

MDC T in my own opinion and i believe many share this opinion.should just pull out of the coalition and do what it knows best,beating zanu pf and all its side parties in the watershed elections of 2018. Most of these briefcase parties owe their existence to zanu pf party and i believe they are there to cause division and confusion in the MDC T party.MDC T once beat the mafia party and the reason why zanu pf was beaten in 2008 ranged from lack of service delivery by the zanu pf government,disrespect of human rights,unemployment,violence,looting of state resources by the the zanu pf ruling elite and their hangers on,the list is endless i could go on and on.Notthing of the above has improved,in fact things have actually bacome worse that they were in 2008.No sane person who once voted for MDC T in 2008 would opt to vote for zanu pf in 2018.So MDC T you have tried your best in trying to have a formidable force by joining hands with other opposition parties in order to remove zimbabwe's common enemy which is the zanu pf mafia party but with what is transpiring in the opposition parties including MDC T it self i believe it high time you should go it alone or you could just invite those who are really can't wait to see tha back of the dictator.No one will blame you for trying.After all politics is all about numbers!

Janana wa Bikaz - 3 October 2017

The coalition effort was only destabilized or scuttled by Tsvangirai's big man mentality-he & hinge men could not approach the coalition effort in its proper context-only saw themselves as the heroes of the coalition;leading others to loose heart & leave ;leaving Tsvangirai under the hammer of a heavy blow by Mugabe as usual,come next year year

addmore gudo - 3 October 2017

janana wabikaz wataura chokwadi chinoendesa kudenga mdc t inofanira kuzvimiririra

g40 - 3 October 2017

10 years ago Tsvangirai was the real deal but now am not so sure thus for the group to go it alone its political suicide. this is a game of numbers and nothing else. MDC-T has lost its steam because of splits. Corruption is rife in most local authorities be it zanupf or mdct. nothing in terms of policy issues are coming out from the opposition except position squabbles. zanupf is strong in the rural areas of which the opposition could have pushed to have the new voter who has come of age register to vote but alas its all about past glory. if there is no coalition zanupf will win big tym whether we like it or not. this might be a bitter pill to swallow...

matutu - 3 October 2017

Zim politics is so backward, its unbelievable! Seriously, everyone is on a national platform but acting and speaking with a district mentality. No one wants to give up a simple constituency seat yet when they gather they are gathering to look for a national solution. So in that case why behave like regional leaders? You all forget why the coalition is required to begin with. Remember one Simba Makoni and the votes he got? Remember the perceived 50% plus 1 debacle?

Kwidz - 4 October 2017

Okay, fine. Don't have a coalition, keep your regionalism, keep fooling yourselves that all you need is to have your party reserve a seat for you. Also keep fooling yourselves that you must have a seat reserved for you in order to be in the constituon, and not give up contesting as a sacrifice for a coalition. After all, you have good jobs, money in you bank accounts that you can get whenever and wherever, you have mortgages, your kids go to good schools like the presidents kids and enjoy good health in medical facilities that are so good that even the president attends them as well. When your kids finish university they will get good paying jobs like the first son-in-law did. See, there is no need to have a coalition, you are in a country that is overflowing with milk and honey and the future looks rosy right now. it can only get better, right? Right?

Kwidz - 4 October 2017

Tsvangirai is not the coalition but a stambling

addmore gudo - 4 October 2017

Tsvangirai is not a coalition answer but a stambling block

addmore gudo - 4 October 2017

Tsvangirai is not a coalition answer but a stambling block

addmore gudo - 4 October 2017

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