HARARE – Welshman Ncube, leader of the smaller MDC, says he is yet to be approached by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC about an anti-President Robert Mugabe coalition for the July 31 make-or-break vote.
Ncube — who is in an electoral pact with Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa — said he is yet to receive Tsvangirai’s emissaries to discuss the grand coalition, adding he will never oppose an alliance with any like-minded people to bring about a real and genuine change to the people of Zimbabwe.
“To Mr Tsvangirai I say, for once and for the sake of Zimbabwe, chimbosiyai (leave) politics of deception and for once, tell the people of Zimbabwe the truth around the issue of a coalition,” Ncube said.
“Tell the people that you have never approached the MDC in this regard because you don’t know how to handle your internal political dynamics,” he added.
Ncube said just like in 2008, his party was not opposed to a coalition with the Tsvangirai-led MDC to mount a united front against Mugabe, but said Tsvangirai’s MDC national council kept on shifting goal posts until the pact collapsed.
“Like what they believed in 2008, they again suffer under the same misguided illusion that they will make it alone,” Ncube said.
“Manje masamba achitonyanya kusiyana (It’s even more difficult now). It’s no longer business as usual. MDC yakura (The MDC is now big). Be guided accordingly.”
Tsvangirai’s MDC claims there have been overtures to reunite with the smaller MDC faction but it was scuttled by Ncube, ostensibly because he exaggerated his importance and demanded all seats in Matabeleland. But Ncube rubbished those claims.
“Some people have mastered the art of deception,” he said.
“The only time there was ever a discussion of a coalition was before the 2008 election. There has since then never been an approach to us.
“So anyone who claims that post-2008, we have been approached and made any demands, reasonable or unreasonable demands is a liar.”
Ncube said even during the pre-2008 talks, he never made any demands to anyone.
The law professor said in the scuttled 2008 pact, Tsvangirai’s MDC was given 80 percent of the seats across the country in the agreement and Tsvangirai was going to be their presidential candidate.
Ncube said Tsvangirai’s national council kept on making new demands until the talks collapsed.
“They wanted some seats in Matabeleland where we had sitting Members of Parliament,” Ncube said.
“We came back to the national council and said they have made new demands and our national council said the goal posts are going to change forever, no thanks, we have accepted their original demands that’s it. If they don’t want, it’s up to them.”
Ncube said the MDC was trying to obfuscate the real issues around the collapse of the 2008 poll pact when it is them who foiled the deal.
He ruled out chances of reunification with Tsvangirai saying there were now sharp differences that could not be easily resolved and he cited violence.
Political analysts say the failure by the Zanu PF opponents, to work together or back one candidate for the past five years, increases the chances of Mugabe winning the forthcoming election.
While the spotlight is on Tsvangirai’s challenge to Mugabe in the looming election in Zimbabwe, there are other three candidates waiting in the wings.
Most of them, dismissed by many political analysts as presidential no-hopers, are running low-level campaigns far from the limelight.
Some of the candidates have failed to refute charges that they are there with Mugabe’s blessing to split the opposition vote or bolster an image of multiparty democracy.
The few pre-election polls show that only Tsvangirai, a former trade unionist and leader of the MDC, has a real chance of unseating Mugabe in the forthcoming watershed election.
While observers want all the opposition leaders to rally behind Tsvangirai, egos are the biggest stumbling block to the coalition.
Tsvangirai and Ncube are both ambitious men who belong to the same generation of political gladiators who have broken with a more hard-line “old guard.”
“People should accept that just as much as we cannot have a coalition with Zanu PF, we are so different in parties and we are equally different from the MDC-T and we should just accept that. It’s as plain as that,” Ncube said.
Ncube said the larger MDC has been discredited by immorality, violence, corruption and nepotism and their failed tactics of boycotting elections.
In his remarkable 33-year rule of the southern African country, Mugabe has controversially won seven elections, due to a fragmented and disorganised opposition.
He also survived a 2008 electoral defeat by Tsvangirai, after seeing off public anger spawned by a flagging economy.
The two MDCs suffered badly in 2008 after losing close to two dozen parliamentary seats because of split votes.