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Tsvangirai Says No Opposition Coalition Talks Yet in Zimbabwe

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation leaders Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube. (AP Photos/Collage by Ntungamili Nkomo)

Zimbabwean opposition parties say they are yet to start coalition talks despite mounting pressure from citizens that they should team up in order to mount a formidable challenge against President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party in the 2108 elections.

Addressing his first news conference this year at his party’s Harvest House headquarters, former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said his party is yet to begin coalition negotiations with other opposition parties although some Zimbabweans feel that these talks are long overdue.

Tsvangirai made these remarks only a day after MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu told Studio 7 that coalition talks were at an advanced stage, promising Zimbabweans that the party leader was going to deliver the good news on the progress of the negotiations in due course.

However, local newspapers have been reporting that the opposition parties are meeting secretly with a view of forming a grand coalition ahead of the next elections.

Mr. Tsvangirai’s remarks were echoed by Kurauone Chihwayi, spokesperson of the MDC formation led by Professor Welshman Ncube.

Studio 7 failed to get a comment People’s Democratic Party leader Tendai Biti and Rugare Gumbo, the interim spokesperson of the yet to be launched People First party.

Although some of the major opposition parties have said that talks are yet to start, political analyst, David Masunda, says time is fast-running out for the opposition as the 2018 polls draw close.

Against the backlash from his former party’s secretary general Biti and Elton Mangoma, who was treasurer of the MDC-T before the two broke ranks with the former prime minister, Tsvangirai said he was ready to work with all opposition players in a bid to defeat Zanu PF in elections.

After breaking away from Tsvangirai, Biti and Mangoma formed the MDC Renewal Team but the two split again last year over leadership squabbles. Mangoma now leads his own party called Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai said judging from President Mugabe’s remarks at the recent African Union Summit held in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa that he would remain in politics until God calls him, it is now clear that Mr. Mugabe wants to die in office. He revealed that this view was shared by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo.

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Meanwhile, Tsvangirai urged the European Union to ensure that the Zimbabwean government embraced key democratic principles as Harare seeks to re-engage the international community.

Relations between Harare and the West soured after Mr. Mugabe’s administration was accused of allegedly rigging elections and violating the rights of the country’s citizens.

Turning to an alleged internal rift in his party, the former prime minister said we was working full throttle to ensure that his party does not miss the ball – dislodging Zanu PF from power.

On the other hand, factionalism has also reached boiling point within Zanu PF as Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo, War Veterans Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa, and presidential spokesperson Geroge Charamba are openly trading barbs on social networking sites in what observers say is are intensifying rifts over President Mugabe’s succession.