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Will Selection of Presidential Candidate Divide Zimbabwe Coalition of Democrats?

  • Gibbs Dube

FILE: Zimbabwe opposition parties are teaming up ahead of the 2018 general elections.

FILE: Zimbabwe opposition parties are teaming up ahead of the 2018 general elections.

Some Zimbabweans are skeptical about moves by opposition parties to field a single presidential candidate in the 2018 general polls saying it is likely that they will be rocked by divisions before the polls.

Some argue that the current crop of opposition leaders in the Coalition of Democrats do not have the political stamina to dislodge President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF from power.

Their major concern is that two opposition parties – the MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai and former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First are not in the coalition, making it a shaky group of weak parties.

The coalition was signed by five opposition parties - the MDC led by former Industry Minister Professor Welshman Ncube, Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe led by former Energy Minister Elton Mangoma, former Finance Minister and Zanu PF member Simba Makoni’s Mavambo Kusile Dawn party, Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment and Zimbabweans United for Democracy.

How will they select a presidential candidate? Professor Ncube said everything has been put in place to ensure that the whole exercise works.

"The full modalities in terms of the details are yet to be developed. It is the principle, the principle we have agreed on ... We are not naive, we were not born yesterday. We know all the things we are warning against those challenges. And we will be alive to them at all material times.

"But what matters most is that we have looked at each other in the eye and we have said we must commit to each other that do not come into this coalition with the belief that you will be the candidate."

But political analyst Ibbo Mandaza of the Southern African Political and Economic Series, said all the leaders of the coalition of democrats are not presidential material.

"No one. There no one with an appeal as a presidential candidate ... And as long as all the big parties are not involved all others are minor parties as far as I see it."

He also noted that all opposition leaders in Zimbabwe have overstayed and need to pave way for new blood.

"I would go further to say the negotiations for a coalition should involve the need to effect a generational change in Zimbabwe, come 2018. We must agree, (Mrs) Joice Mujuru, Morgan Tsvangirai, Simba Makoni, Welshman Ncube must agree that they have had their chance. They can no longer lead this country."

And Zanu PF’s deputy information director, Psychology Maziwisa, argues that the coalition of democrats is a non-starter.

"It's a coalition of zeros really. Zanu PF remains a formidable party. It's like having a coalition of a whole array of zeros. Zero plus zero plus zero will always give you zero."

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