CHURCHES, political parties, civil society and other stakeholders are organising an all-stakeholders’ convention in May which is touted as a precursor to a grand coalition of opposition parties, although it may signify a looming split in the beleaguered MDC-T.
The coalition that organisers say would be similar to the national working people’s convention of February 1999, which gave birth to the MDC, is set for Gweru at a provisional date of May 25, although it could be held in June.
While various opposition political parties are planning this event, sources close to the developments say church leaders led by former Anglican Bishop Sebastian Bakare were the conveners of the convention, which may see the establishment of a new political party.
Various parties and political leaders, among them the MDC-T renewal team, Welshman Ncube’s MDC, Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu, Simba Makoni’s Mavambo and Lovemore Madhuku’s National Constitutional Assembly are likely to take part in the convention which will also include students, trade unions and individuals.
The MDC-T and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai will also be invited
The objective of the convention is to come up with an alliance strong enough to topple Zanu PF in the 2018 elections.
Sources said one of the critical issues that will be discussed at the meeting would be the form in which the alliance of the political parties and civil society will take.
“We will discuss whether to adopt a South African model where the African National Congress (ANC) and the South Africa Communist Party (SACP) and Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) contest elections as one but still maintain their organisational autonomy, or the National Rainbow Coalition that defeated President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya in 2002 where parties dissolved themselves into one political formation,” said a senior MDC-T official who preferred anonymity.
It was however not clear whether Tsvangirai will attend the convention although there are indications that some political parties and players wanted him present while others wanted him out of the coalition.
Those who want Tsvangirai at the convention argue he is still a force which cannot be ignored considering he got more than a million votes in 2008 and in the 2013 general elections.
MDC spokesman Nhlanhla Dube confirmed work towards the convention was in progress but said discussions around a coalition were still at an informal stage.
The spokesperson of the MDC-T renewal team Jacob Mafume confirmed the convention would be held either at the end of May or at the beginning of June.