HARARE – The MDC Alliance has resolved to officially begin campaigning for Morgan Tsvangirai as its presidential candidate, with rallies scheduled for the capital this weekend and the next in Mutare.
The resolution was made at the MDC Alliance strategic retreat held last weekend to prepare for the forthcoming elections. The meeting came up with Tsvangirai’s campaign itinerary.
Zimbabweans go to the polls in August to elect a president, lawmakers and local officials.
The MDC Alliance spokesperson, Welshman Ncube told the Daily News yesterday that the ailing veteran politician will still represent the opposition MDC Alliance in the presidential election, his fourth time as a presidential candidate.
He said Tsvangirai is being represented in the Alliance by one of his deputies, Nelson Chamisa.
Saturday’s meeting, held at a lodge on the outskirts of Harare, was chaired by Chamisa, who has been assigned to that role by Tsvangirai as chairperson of the MDC Alliance.
The rallies will be addressed by MDC Alliance principals to outline the roadmap to elections and definition of election reforms.
The MDC Alliance includes People’s Democratic Party (PDP), led by Tendai Biti; Ncube’s MDC; Transform Zimbabwe of Jacob Ngarivhume; Zanu Ndonga headed by Denford Masiyarira and the Multi-Racial Christian Democrats led by Mathias Guchutu.
Both Biti and Ncube are former secretaries-general of a united MDC.
“We agreed that we should immediately start the campaigns with a rally in Harare’s Glen View suburb on Saturday and then Epworth on Sunday. This will be followed up by a star rally in Mutare while the organising team comes up with dates for other venues,” Ncube said, adding “I cannot divulge everything because some of the information is strategic.”
The former Industry and Commerce minister also revealed that parties to the Alliance should speedily complete their candidate selection processes.
“We were given up to the end of February by … Tsvangirai to complete the processes so we emphasised that it should be done.
“Negotiating teams, it was also agreed, should also urgently conclude talks on ward allocations to say what party fields a candidate in which ward within the next two weeks,” he added.
Ncube said further that the MDC Alliance had also activated its taskforce on elections to urgently finalise the document it was preparing, detailing the minimum conditions for a free, fair and credible election “and we will avail it to the public soon.”
“Our elections committee team will also engage government as a matter of urgency to push them to appoint a Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson in terms of the processes provided for in the Constitution”.
The Alliance operates through various national alliance committees which include Communications, Organising and Networks, International Relations, Legal Services and Electoral Reforms, Youth and Women.
All the parties’ organs nationally from the branches to the provinces have also established alliance coordinating committees that are organising joint activities with specific reference to voter education and registration mobilisation at every level.
A large cross-section of Zimbabweans believes the opposition stands a good chance of defeating President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu PF in this year’s elections if it participates as a single bloc.
However, the Alliance has been blighted by divisions as MDC bigwigs jostle for the party presidency after Tsvangirai announced that he is considering retirement owing to ill-health.
The situation has not been helped by the fact that some of Tsvangirai’s lieutenants including VP Thokozani Khupe and other senior leaders from the southern parts of the country have always been against the coalition arguing that the MDC does not need a coalition in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions.