HARARE – Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC and former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) say President Robert Mugabe’s governing Zanu PF party is desperately working to scuttle any prospects of a grand opposition coalition ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.
The parties also told the Daily News yesterday that they had no doubt that such a coalition would “retire Mugabe to Zvimba” and end Zimbabwe’s decades-long political and economic crises.
The parties spoke after Mugabe’s deeply-divided party once again endorsed the increasingly frail nonagenarian last week as the former liberation movement’s presidential candidate for 2018 when its youths organised a solidarity march for him in Harare which analysts say was designed to project the long-ruling strongman as “invincible”.
ZPF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said he was even more convinced now that the surest way Zimbabweans could extricate themselves from “Zanu PF’s dictatorship and the abyss of despair pervading the country” was through “a potent coalition” of all opposition parties.
“Takagara takazvitaura kuti vaMugabe havadi kubva pachigaro vanoda kufira ipapo (we have always said Mugabe wants to be a life president).
“What is important is for all opposition parties to unite, mobilise and send him to his rural home.
“We always said and continue to say that opposition parties need to be united so as to end this madness now,” he said.
Gumbo also revealed that Mugabe had always said that if he left office, then the governing party would “break into pieces and die”.
“This is of course rich coming from him because the main reason why Zanu PF is collapsing is because of him,” he said.
Zanu PF is presently divided along two factions, one reportedly led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and another one a loose grouping of young Turks going by the nickname Generation 40 (G40).
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu also noted that there was “a desperate bid” by Zanu PF to scuttle any prospects of a grand opposition coalition.
“As the MDC, we have always stated that every concerned Zimbabwean across the political divide has got to play an active role in collapsing the deeply-entrenched Zanu PF dictatorship.
“We have never styled ourselves as a big brother, contrary to what some of our detractors are fond of saying.
“We are ready, willing and able to collaborate with all other political parties and organisations that are sincerely interested in democratically and constitutionally removing the Zanu PF regime in order to usher in a new democratic and progressive nation State in our beloved motherland,” Gutu said.
He also observed that with Zanu PF continuing in power, there was “zero likelihood of an economic revival”.
“All democratic forces within the country have no choice but to explore all lawful and constitutional avenues available to ensure that the insanely corrupt and politically-decadent Zanu PF dictatorship is sent packing sooner rather than later,” Gutu said.
Even at their personal levels, both Tsvangirai and Mujuru have signalled that they are ready to engage in coalition talks.
Commenting on this willingness, think-tank NKC African Economics said this suggested that there was real hope for a viable opposition coalition, one of the major contributing factors that has hampered the opposition’s efforts to date to dislodge Mugabe and Zanu PF from power.
The spokesperson of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Jacob Mafume, also said in light of Zanu PF’s choice of Mugabe as its 2018 presidential candidate, as well as the governing party’s inability to reform, “a coalition is now a must”.
“As long as we delay the coalition, we are causing the continued suffering of Zimbabweans.
“The people of Zimbabwe should hang their heads in collective shame that they continue to parade that old man as their president,” he added.