The Welshman Ncube-led MDC has reacted angrily to MDC vice president Thokozani Khupe’s remarks that there is no need for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led party to have coalition partners in Bulawayo.
On Wednesday, Khupe said while she is not against a grand coalition, her view was that such synergies should be formed in provinces such as Mashonaland where the MDC has consistently lost to Zanu PF and not Bulawayo — where the opposition holds sway.
This comes as sharp divisions have emerged in the mainstream MDC over the inclusion of Ncube in the coalition.
Ncube, a former secretary-general of the mainstream MDC, hails from Matabeleland and is seen as a threat to Khupe’s influence in the region.
In a statement, the Ncube-led MDC spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi, said Khupe’s statements expose that the anti-coalition politicians are doing it for their selfish interests.
“There is no opposition party which has all the seats let alone all the votes in the southern provinces of the country. As of today, Zanu PF holds all the 13 seats in Matabeleland South. So where is the 100 percent victory there?” he questioned.
“Zanu PF holds six of the 10 seats in Matabeleland North. Again where is the 100 percent? Even in Bulawayo where the MDC-T won all the seats in 2013 in terms of vote counts, the MDC had 20 967 votes and Zanu PF polled a total of 30 290 votes,” he went on.
Tsvangirai has also indicated that there are some people in his own party who want to stifle the coalition primarily because of selfish reasons.
But Khupe has explained why she is against the formation of a grand coalition in some areas, particularly Bulawayo.
“I am not against any coalition but …as a political party, when you want a coalition you will have realised a gap in your party and as the MDC, where is our gap? It is clear our gap is in Mashonaland East, West and Central …,” she said.
“So when looking for a coalition partner you must look for a partner who is going to be able to cover that gap,” Khupe said.
Both insiders and observers say Khupe fears that an alliance with Ncube could weaken her influence in the region where some regard her as a “godmother”.
Referring to the 2008 elections when Tsvangirai narrowly missed the threshold required for an outright victory after independent candidate Simba Makoni split the votes, Chihwayi said there is need to learn from past mistakes.
“The 2008 elections taught us that when we do not act wisely and in the national interest we can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Those responsible for prevailing on others to walk away from the 2008 coalition agreement need to be careful that they are not seen today to be working against the clear public sentiment that we must all do everything in our power to give the people of this country …,” he said.
“Notwithstanding the brickbats thrown at us, the MDC remains committed to working with all those willing to work with others to build the broadest coalition possible against Zanu PF…,” Chihwayi said.
Despite resistance to the grand coalition, which analysts believe can end Zanu PF’s hegemony, Tsvangirai has vowed that the opposition will contest the 2018 polls as a united front because of overwhelming public sentiment for such an arrangement. Daily News