By Tendai Kamhungira
Leader of the smaller opposition MDC party — Welshman Ncube, pictured below, — has warned his colleagues against boycotting the 2018 elections, insisting they should participate irrespective of whether President Robert Mugabe’s government institutes electoral reforms or not.
This comes as the opposition, coalescing under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) are agitating for sweeping reforms before the country holds the elections in 2018.
The main opposition MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai, has been boycotting by-elections, as part of its demands for wholesale changes to the electoral system which it blames for its previous defeats.
Speaking at a press briefing in Harare yesterday after the party’s national council meeting, Ncube, said it is imperative for opposition political parties to form a coalition and participate in the 2018 elections.
“I think it will be a betrayal of the people to walk away from the elections . . . we must be prepared to fight against all odds,” Ncube told journalists.
“The mood in the opposition parties is that we should continue fighting for the reforms but we should take part. We should not deny the people the opportunity to fight through democratic means.”
Ncube said his party is working closely with other opposition political parties for them to field a single presidential candidate in the 2018 elections, adding that it is possible for them to come up with a single candidate.
He said in order for the coalition to harness every vote, it needs to include every opposition political party regardless of the support base.
“We think that every vote counts and that we can convince everybody to that conviction. We desire to abandon no one, we intend to be inclusive,” Ncube said.
He said the coalition has to agree on who will lead it based on the person’s support base, his or her capacity to unite the coalition members and someone who agrees to work within the context of the coalition.
“As MDC, one of the most important considerations is the principle to admit that the collective can choose any other candidate other than you,” Ncube said.
He, however, dismissed calls for the creation of a National Transitional Authority (NTA) to replace the current Zanu PF government.
He said the NTA will in a way resuscitate Zanu PF and is another form of a Government of National Unity.
“We should go to elections and let the people decide who should lead them. We must elect a government and live within the consequences of our decisions. What is important is to allow the people to elect a president of their choice,” Ncube said.
Recently, Tsvangirai gave the strongest hint to date that he is raring to lead the mooted grand coalition in the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections, after he set clear conditions for the mooted pact.
The former prime minister in the inclusive government, who commands a huge following among Zimbabweans and remains the only politician in the history of the post-independence State to defeat Mugabe, also said opposition parties needed to field a candidate in 2018 with a real chance of winning that year’s poll.
Analysts have consistently said that a united opposition, fighting with one purpose, would bring to an end Mugabe’s long rule — especially at this time when the country’s economy is dying and the increasingly frail nonagenarian is battling to keep his warring Zanu PF united. Daily News