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Zimbabwe Opposition Parties in Disarray

  • Thomas Chiripasi

Morgan Tsvangirai addressing supporters. (File Photo)

Morgan Tsvangirai addressing supporters. (File Photo)

The July 31 elections have come and gone, leaving many unanswered questions as the result remains disputed.

But what is not in question is that Zimbabwe's opposition political parties are is disarray with no sign of improvement on the ground as the countdown to the next crucial election in 2018 has already begun, especially with the succession issues dogging both Zanu PF and the main opposition party, the Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF and the MDC have sparred in national elections several times but the former liberation party has always emerged victorious. In last year's elections, Mr. Mugabe travelled to all the country's 10 provinces seeking re-election and denouncing the two MDC formations.

Former prime minister and MDCT leader Morgan Tsvangirai held over 60 campaign rallies in last year's polls, while Mr. Mugabe held less than 15 campaign meetings.

Despite the numerous rallies, the former trade unionist lost the polls by a wide margin and claimed the elections were rigged in Mr. Mugabe's favour.

Following his drubbing in the polls, Mr. Tsvangirai is now calling for a grand coalition of all democratic forces to increase the opposition's chances of winning in the next elections.

There is growing consensus between the two formations of the MDC that all democratic forces should form a grand coalition ahead of the next elections due in 2018.

Former St Mary's legislator Job Sikhala, who was leading a breakaway faction of the MDC calling itself MDC99, has since heeded Mr. Tsvangirai's call.

Meanwhile, the MDC formation led by Professor Welshman Ncube, which has been refusing to talk with Tsvangirai, now says its doors are open for coalition talks despite Ncube having been previously quoted in the media as saying that he will never again work with Mr. Tsvangirai.

The party's deputy national spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi, says any talks should be held in good faith.

But the newly National Constitutional Assembly party says it will not be part of the negotiations for coalition talks.

Mr. Tsvangirai on Thursday said he would reach out to NCA leader Lovemore Madhuku but NCA spokesman Mardock Chivasa indicated that the interim committee running the party has no mandate to enter into negotiations with Mr. Tsvangirai

Chihwayi says the culture of violence in the MDCT must come to a complete stop if a working relationship was to be mooted.

The MDC-T has been cautioned by its own cadres and embassies in Harare to deal with intra-party violence that was first reported before the 2005 split but recently reared its ugly head when the party's deputy treasurer general Elton Mangoma was assaulted by party youths for asking Tsvangirai to resign and pave way for a new leadership to steer the party ahead of the 2018 polls.

Studio 7 failed to obtain a comment from Mavambo Kusile Dawn leader former Finance Minister Simba Makoni

Makoni is on record as calling for a grand coalition against President Mugabe. Last year he entered into an election alliance with Mr. Tsvangirai.

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo says his party is alert and working hard to retain power, adding Zanu PF is not celebrating the defeat of the MDC at last year's polls.

Gumbo says Zimbabwe needs a strong opposition to keep those in power in check so they can deliver.

Political analyst and former president of the Zimbabwe National Students Union, Pride Mkono, strongly believes that the unification of all democratic forces is the only way the opposition can mount a strong challenge to Mr. Mugabe and his ZANU PF party in elections.


Tsvangirai, Ncube and Mr. Mugabe were presidential candidates in last year's polls. The MDC leaders performed dismally.
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