IN what could be a make-or-break attempt to dislodge President Robert Mugabe in the forthcoming harmonised elections in 2018, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has sent emissaries to People Democratic Party (PDP) president Tendai Biti to initiate talks that could lead to the formation of a coalition of opposition parties ahead of the 2018 polls, Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
This comes at a time former vice-president Joice Mujuru’s movement, People First (PF), is keen to have Biti as a senior advisor.
Biti has also been tasked with negotiating with Mujuru on behalf of other opposition parties once she launches her party. Critics say divisions in the opposition have been an Achilles Heel in pushing Mugabe out of power after 36 years of his rule.
Sources say the informal talks are a fresh attempt after initial negotiations between Tsvangirai and break-away factions, led by MDC Renewal Team frontrunner Elton Mangoma and Biti collapsed, when both sides set tough conditions for each other to unite in 2014.
Biti was the secretary-general of MDC-T while Mangoma was deputy treasurer before the fallout with Tsvangirai.
This week sources in MDC-T and PDP said although Tsvangirai and Biti had not met, the former prime Minister’s emissaries had met the PDP leader and the party’s secretary general Gorden Moyo. The sources revealed Tsvangirai had sent his relativeHebson Makuvise and MDC-T treasurer-general Theresa Makone.
“Talks are happening but they are still at a very informal stage. People from Tsvangirai and Biti are meeting and this is still at a very tender stage. The point of a possible reunification is that the two think it’s better uniting and then call on former vice-president Joice Mujuru to join their union, rather than being swallowed by her People First movement,” said a PDP official.
“The two parties have lost quite a considerable number of people to People First, and as much as it is painful to some former PDP legislators who are still bitter that Tsvangirai pushed for their ouster from parliament after they revolted against him to join the MDC Renewal, they are aware that a compromise is needed. People will have to swallow their pride and put the nation at heart,” said one of the sources.
PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume on Tuesday said his party welcomed unity of opposition parties but said his party had not entered any formal talks with PDP.
“While we are open to talks with anyone from any sector or party who have a solution to end the Zimbabwean crisis, as far as I know there is no platform for re-engagement that has been created with the MDC-T at the moment,” said Mafume.
MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora also said formal talks had not yet begun.
“What I can only confirm is the general principle of the MDC and it is to co-operate with all progressive forces. Currently, we are not in any formal talks with any political party. The cooperation that is there with the other parties is on electoral reforms,” he said.