Former prime minister and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) founding president Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday announced the return of former St Marys' legislator Job Sikhala to his party and extended an olive branch to other pro-democratic forces in what he says is his grand plan to unseat President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party in the next elections.
Mr. Tsvangirai told a news conference that Sikhala and another founding MDC member, Joubert Mudzumwe, had accepted his call to re-unite and mount a strong challenge to President Mugabe and Zanu PF in the next elections.
Sikhala and Mudzumwe were among those who broke away from the original MDC in 2005 when former Industry Minister Welshman Ncube and others disagreed with Mr. Tsvangirai over the opposition party's participation in the re-introduced senatorial elections.
Sikhala, also present at the news conference, said his decision to re-join Mr. Tsvangirai was influenced by his desire to see a new and democratic Zimbabwe, adding Zimbabweans will only see change in the country if all pro-democratic forces worked together.
Sikhala's sentiments were echoed by Mudzumwe who added that other activists from the MDC formation that were led by former deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara have indicated their willingness to rejoin Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tsvangirai said he is making frantic efforts to negotiate with other political leaders like Simba Makoni, Lovemore Madhuku and Welshman Ncube of the MKD, NCA and MDC-N parties respectively, so they can form a united front against President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party in the 2018 elections.
Although Ncube was quoted in the media as saying he would never again work with Tsvangirai, the MDC founding president urged Ncube to look at the broader picture and focus on the interests of ordinary Zimbabweans whom he said are calling for the unity of all democratic forces ahead of the next polls.
Regarding the disagreements in his MDCT party over the leadership renewal call by suspended deputy treasurer general Elton Mangoma and other senior party officials like Roy Bennett and Ian Kay, among others, Mr. Tsvangirai said the issue will be settled through a congress when it is due.
Mangoma was suspended for discussing the opposition party's leadership renewal debate in the press despite a resolution of the MDC-T National Council barring him from doing so.
The opposition party's supreme decision making body between congresses accused him of undermining the authority of the organs of the party and abusing party funds to promote factionalism.
The organ's decision to suspend Mangoma was described by the opposition party's secretary general Tendai Biti as "voidable" although Biti attended the council meeting that resulted in Mangoma's suspension.
Under the circumstances, Sikhala urged Mr. Tsvangirai to forgive Mangoma and start working with him for the good of their project to democratize Zimbabwe.
Sikhala said he will be in Bulawayo on Saturday where Mr. Tsvangirai is set to address a rally, adding that fresh and credible elections should be held as soon as possible.
Mr. Tsvangirai, who formed an alliance with Makoni in the July 31 national elections last year, lost by a wide margin to Mr. Mugabe but claimed the polls were rigged.