By Blessings Mashaya
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is racing against time to form the much-anticipated grand coalition of opposition parties ahead of a self-imposed July 31 deadline.
Early this month, a buoyant Tsvangirai declared that the proposed alliance would be signed, sealed and delivered by month-end so that the parties to the coalition can have ample time to strategise Zanu PF’s downfall at the 2018 polls.
He made the announcement soon after inking a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume.
Speaking at rally on Sunday in Kuwadzana, Tsvangirai’s deputy, Nelson Chamisa, said his boss would close coalition talks “gates” on July 31.
“On the issue of coalition, the president is having coalition talks until the end of July, after 31 July, we will close the (coalition) gates. Those who agree with us we will walk together, we want everyone to come. Vanhu vose vanoziva munhu anga achivhima nguva yose, iwe woona mhuka yakabatwa gumbo wotora banga wocheka musoro, ndeyako? (you don’t reap what you did not sow). We walked a very long journey, we want democracy but for now it’s not good to have many political parties; we must give president Tsvangirai a chance,” said Chamisa.
“We have solutions to the economy; we are going to have good policies which are going to attract investors. We are going to bring back confidence and correct the issue of cash shortage by improving productivity.”
Opposition parties canvassed by the Daily News yesterday said they were all eager to consummate the grand coalition but appeared not amused by attempts by the MDC to impose timelines within which the mooted alliance should be consummated.
The National People’s Party (NPP), led by Joice Mujuru, admitted yesterday that they were racing against time to achieve the coalition, but could not comment on what motivated Tsvangirai into giving the July 31 deadline.
“As NPP, we acknowledge that we are racing against time as the regime can declare the holding of election at any time . . . We cannot speak on behalf of other parties on what motivated the setting of the deadline,” said the party’s spokesperson, Gift Nyandoro.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) weighed in saying it is ready to seal the coalition deal as soon as possible.
Said PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume: “Well, it is their internal position (MDC).We were ready to agree with people last year and we are ready now; it won’t take us long to do that”.
The idea of a coalition received a boost recently when Tsvangirai signed MoUs with Mujuru and Welshman Ncube’s smaller faction of the MDC.
Analysts are unanimous that too many political parties will no doubt split the votes in favour of Zanu PF.
In the 2008 polls, Tsvangirai was denied outright victory after Simba Makoni of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn entered the presidential race a few months before the polls and managed to get eight percent of the votes.
Tsvangirai’s followers claim the MDC leader could have sealed it in the first round without the need for a run-off that saw the former trade unionist pulling out citing widespread violence against his supporters and officials.
Zimbabwe currently has over 40 opposition political parties, some of which are believed to have been created by Zanu PF to create confusion and divide the votes.
On Sunday, Chamisa made the bizarre claim that this time around the opposition has infiltrated Zanu PF and they now know the ruling party’s shenanigans.
“In rural areas, we now know what Zanu PF is doing; we have infiltrated them, we know what they are planning, and we don’t want them to rig the elections again. We have our election team which comprises (Douglas) Mwonzora, (Obert) Gutu and (Murisi Zwizwai), they are doing a good job,” said Chamisa.
He also urged the people to register to vote.
“2018 is a crucial election, you need to go and register to vote. Parents must force their children to go and register to vote. The government must listen to the concern of people. If Harare registers to vote, we will win the elections,” said Chamisa.
“Election conditions must be followed (and) if they failed to do so we are promising action in the next weeks. You must participate in these programmes; this is not an MDC project — everyone want change, even those who are in Zanu PF. We must help Zanu PF by removing them in the darkness they are living in,” he added.
He further said: “We know that Mugabe wants to proclaim election dates much earlier than had been expected; they want elections in March but we are going to resist that, they are trying to short-change proper preparations of the elections in terms of the Constitution. They are planning the early elections because they fear that a certain big tree will fall but we don’t care — that’s their problem.
“We want all people to register to vote before elections. If one person fails to register to vote and if we fail to agree on the voters’ roll, they are not going to be any elections in Zimbabwe. I am saying this because I am Tsvangirai’s vice president, the largest opposition in Zimbabwe.” Daily News