A senior official of one of Zimbabwe's two main opposition formations said Thursday that the Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Arthur Mutambara will join forces with Simba Makoni, a former finance minister the ruling party has expelled.
Vice President Gibson Sibanda of the Mutambara MDC formation said the deal would be announced Friday in a joint news conference by Mutambara and Makoni. Such an alliance would undermine the candidacies of both President Robert Mugabe, seeking re-election, and Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC founder who is also running.
Sibanda told reporter Brenda Moyo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his formation strongly believes in a united front against President Mugabe.
The Mutambara and Tsvangirai factions recently announced that they had not been able to overcome their differences to reunite behind a single presidential candidate.
Mutambara has not formally declared his candidacy, and Sibanda's announcement of a deal suggests he may throw the weight of his faction, generally considered to have a smaller membership than Tsvangirai's grouping, behind Makoni's breakaway bid.
Makoni unveiled an election manifesto on the themes of national "re-engagement" and reconciliation Wednesday, and expanded on it an interview with VOA's James Butty.
In other political news, two parliamentary candidates of the Tsvangirai MDC formation were said to have been barred or chased from meetings in their constituencies by supporters angered at their imposition as candidates by the party leadership.
Two incumbent lawmakers of the same formation were unseated in primary elections. in Harare constituencies, reported correspondent Thomas Chiripasi.
Elsewhere, opposition rural candidates in Manicaland Province charged that the have been denied receipts showing they have paid local service fees, without which they cannot run for parliament, as Loirdham Moyo reported from Mutare, in the east.