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Coalition talks ongoing: MDC

The main opposition MDC reiterated yesterday that it would not be stampeded into signing electoral pacts with other prospective partners, in a development which could fuel anxiety among prominent politicians hoping to be part of the mooted grand coalition to take on Zanu PF in next year’s watershed elections.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai

This comes as opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) last week with former Vice President Joice Mujuru, as well as his former secretary-general, Welshman Ncube — raising hopes among expectant leaders of smaller opposition parties that they would also soon partner the popular former prime minister in the government of national unity.

In a statement yesterday, the MDC said however, that discussions on potential other partnerships were on-going.

“The facts of the matter are that the two memoranda are just the beginning of a process with both current and potential partners.

“As things stand, we are not at liberty to talk about specific MoU issues but to comment generally on the process and the output.

“We are also unable to give indicative time-frames at this stage, save to say in our party, alliance-building is receiving priority attention from president Tsvangirai, in line with the exclusive mandate given to him by the party’s national council to deal with this important matter,” it said.

“We are alive to the fact that these alliances are about the people of Zimbabwe and not about the leaders who are engaged in the talks, and that is why we keep coming back to update Zimbabweans at the appropriate stages, as we did last week.

“It would be premature for us at this stage to get into the details of the current state of the negotiations after the signing of the MoUs, as well as going public about who else president Tsvangirai is negotiating with.

“Going public at every stage of this delicate and sensitive process would be tantamount to negotiating in public and would be disrespectful both to our current and potential partners.

“As a party, we have also resolved that these alliance negotiations will be bilateral and not multilateral engagements,” the party added.

Apart from Mujuru and Ncube, analysts have said Tsvangirai could also sign MoUs with his other former secretary-general, Tendai Biti, who now leads the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), as well as with others such as Simba Makoni of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD).

Analysts have said the mooted grand coalition gives the opposition the best chance of bringing to an end Mugabe’s and his warring Zanu PF’s misrule.

Optimism has been high ever since Tsvangirai and Mujuru publicly flaunted their readiness to join forces against the ruling party, when they appeared together in Gweru last August.

Analysts have also repeatedly said Mujuru, whose liberation struggle nom de guerre was Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood), and whose husband Solomon was the first black post-independence army commander, could provide the much-needed bridge that opposition parties have been missing to ensure the smooth transfer of power if they win elections again.

Last week a bullish Tsvangirai also vowed to finish off Mugabe and his deeply-divided Zanu PF — adding in an interview with the Daily News that he stood ready to lead the planned grand opposition coalition. Daily News