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5 Parties Endorse Tsvangirai in Zimbabwe Presidential Race

Supporters of the MDC-T
Five political parties on Friday endorsed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) founding president Morgan Tsvangirai for president ahead of the July 31 national elections.

The parties are the Democratic Party, Voice of the People, a faction from Zapu, the Zimbabwe Organized Open Political Party and the United People's Party, that announced their decision to support Mr. Tsvangirai's presidential bid at a news conference held at the MDC-T's Harvest House headquarters.

The five parties join former Finance Minister Simba Makoni's Mavambo Kusile Dawn party and Zanu Ndonga that have already forged an alliance for the forthcoming polls dubbed the "coalition for change".

Leader of the other MDC formation Welshman Ncube is in another coalition with Zapu led by former Home Affairs Minister Dumiso Dabengwa.

UPP leader, Reverend Kuratidza Sandati, told the news conference that a grand coalition against President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party is the only way to remove the former revolutionary party from power.

Voice of the People leader, Moreprecision Muzadzi urged other opposition parties, including the Ncube-led coalition, to join forces with Mr. Tsvangirai to mount a strong challenge against Mr. Mugabe and his party.

ZOOP president Gibbs Paul Gotora said his party's decision to back Mr. Tsvangirai in the July 31 polls was informed by the poor performance of the economy that he blamed squarely on Zanu PF's misgovernance.

Zanu Ndonga vice president, Gondai Paul Vhutuza, confirmed that his party was supporting the prime minister's candidature adding that reports in the Herald newspaper that his party's chairman Reketayi Semwayo, who is standing on an MDC-T ticket for the Chipinge South parliamentary seat, was representing no-one but himself in the Tsvangirai led coalition a few weeks ago were false.

Council Nziramasanga, deputy president of the Zapu formation led by Ray Ncube said his party will not keep quiet if this year's elections are rigged.

He criticised Dabengwa for denying Mr. Tsvangirai the chance to occupy State House after the former home affairs revealed recently that he backed Simba Makoni in the 2008 polls to divide the votes in favour of Mr. Mugabe.

Meanwhile, MDC-T general secretary and Finance Minister Tendai Biti, also present at the news conference, told journalists that his ministry is yet to find money to fund the polls.

Biti said his department has so far managed to secure only $20 million to finance the July 31 elections.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says it requires at least $132 million to effectively conduct the polls.