Zimbabwe Prime Minister and leader of the bigger Movement for Democratic Change formation, Morgan Tsvangirai, has teamed up with former Finance Minister Simba Makoni’s Mavambo Kusile Dawn party and Reketai Semwayo’s Zanu Ndonga to form an election coalition seeking to topple President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF come July 31.
The so-called “Coalition for Change” would be fronted by Tsvangirai as the presidential candidate.
The coalition comes just a day after Tsvangirai launches his party’s 2013 election campaign.
“The MDC-T, MKD and Zanu Ndonga have today agreed to enter into a ‘coalition for change’ in order to offer solutions to the problems facing the country,” a joint statement by the three parties read.
“The coming together of these parties has been necessitated by the shared commitment to bring to an end the current hardships confronting Zimbabweans, due to the failed policies of the past,” the statement continues.
“The parties have agreed to support and campaign for one Presidential candidate Morgan Richard Tsvangirai.”
Makoni, who read the statement on behalf of the three parties, said they remain open to a possible pact with the MDC-Ncube and Zapu, which last week announced their own pact.
“The parties now call upon like-minded organisations, and all Zimbabweans, to join, and or rally behind this coalition for change, in order to achieve real freedom, justice, happiness and prosperity for all, under a new democratic dispensation,” the parties said.
Tsvangirai admitted the playing field was not level but confident he will lead his team to victory.
“We are not living in the ideal world we know that. This is not idealism. In spite of all those setbacks and obstacles we will overcome,” the MDC founding leader said.
"The people are determined in spite of the obstacles. This is a democratic struggle and the people know that their journey in achieving democracy in the country has not been easy especially where
you are confronted with tyrannical dictatorial conditions,” he said.
“How do you remove a dictator using democratic means? It’s not easy. It has never been easy, it’s not going to be easy but we have faith in the confidence that has been expressed nationally and it is on that basis that we will go in," he said.
Tsvangirai won the first round of voting in 2008 but pulled out of the presidential run-off vote citing increasing violence targeting his supporters. The disputed poll results led to the formation of the unity government.
While both President Mugabe and Tsvangirai agree the unity government was largely dysfunctional due to policy discord, the Prime Minister believes Zimbabweans will vote him into State House despite the absence of key democratic reforms.
Makoni won 8 percent of the 2008 vote and Zanu Ndonga, is a smaller opposition party that has a strong following in the country’s eastern region. The party, formed by former Zanu leader Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, who’s now late, did not have a seat in the just dissolved parliament.
Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza of the SAPES Trust in Harare said the grand election coalition enhances Tsvangirai’s chances of trying to unseat Mugabe.
For his part, Mugabe, who is not considering a coalition with anyone, believes his Zanu PF party has better policies and will be resoundingly re-elected come July 31.
Commenting on the new alliance, political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya, who has links with the Welshman Ncube MDC formation says ZANU Ndonga has a following mostly in Chipinge and Makoni's percent win in the 2008 was mostly from the Welshman Ncube's formation of the MDC.
Ngwenya tells reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga that any coalition that does not include both formations of the MDC is not likely to create a needed majority to defeat ZANU PF.