Augustine Mukaro/Loughty Dube
MDC reunification talks are now dead in the water and prospects of the resumption of dialogue appear irretrievably lost, senior party offic
ials said this week.
Key interlocutors in the dialogue to achieve common ground on the fielding of candidates in the elections, Tendai Biti (Tsvangirai) and Welshman Ncube (Mutambara) both believe there is little room for unity between the two groupings before the elections scheduled for next month.
Following failure of the bid to construct a united front Biti and Ncube this week met to review reasons for the collapse of the dialogue.
Ncube yesterday confirmed that he had met with Biti “for a post-mortem of the failed dialogue”. He said after examining the reasons for the failure of the talks “there were no prospects for unification at the moment considering the grounds which resulted in the failure of the dialogue in the first place”.
Biti in a separate interview, described the collapse of the dialogue as a “disaster for Zimbabwe”.
“I am deeply concerned that some people put their personal interests ahead of the national agenda,” said Biti.
The sources said Biti and Ncube were keen to resolve the rift because it would split the vote and give the election to Zanu PF. This position, which the two have always held, has failed to garner backing among those close to the party leadership. The party split in October 2005 and numerous attempts to bridge the rift have failed.
Talks once again collapsed last Saturday after the factions failed to agree on the allocation of constituencies.
The formations announced on Sunday that they were going into the election as separate entities after they failed to agree on how to distribute “safe” urban seats.
Both said they would now rush through primary elections this week to choose separate candidates ahead of nomination day, which has since been extended to February 15.
Faction leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara are expected to stand in the presidential poll. There have been rumours that Mutambara had agreed to step down and support Simba Makoni who announced his candidacy for the presidential poll this week.
Ncube however said there was no such agreement. He said the only position standing at the moment was that taken by the faction’s national council this week that Mutambara would stand for the presidency. “That is the only position …and if there are other developments warranting a review of this position, the council will be requested to convene and reflect on it,” said Ncube.
Meanwhile, cut-throat competition between the two factions has already started in Bulawayo where Ncube and the Tsvangirai faction Vice President Thokozani Khupe are set to clash in the Makokoba seat after the Bulawayo East parliamentary seat previously held by Ncube was demarcated to cover Makokoba.
Khupe was confirmed the Tsvangirai faction candidate after the party resolved to retain all MPs in their constituencies.