MAVAMBO/Kusile DAWN (MKD) president Simba Makoni has emerged as the likely leader of the grand coalition being proposed by the break-away MDC Renewal-Team and other opposition parties in an effort to unseat Zanu PF in the 2018 elections.
Sources close to the development said a series of meetings are underway where representatives from the MDC-T’s renewal team, Makoni’s MKD, Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu and Welshman Ncube’s MDC are meeting ahead of the May Convention, where all issues related to the set up of the grand coalition will be ironed out.
“Although it is not yet in black and white and as you may be aware that Zimbabwe’s politics are fluid, from the look of things it seems all opposition members are in favour of Simba Makoni to lead the group,” said a highly placed MKD source.
The source confirmed that his boss Makoni was likely to lead the grand coalition if what is transpiring in the preparatory meetings is anything to go by.
“We have held lots of meetings and we are happy that this time around our president Simba Makoni appears favourable to lead this group ahead of all other leaders. Dabengwa and Ncube have thrown their weight behind Makoni,” the source said.
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent, Makoni said the issue of leadership will be determined at a later stage.
“I am the first person to advance the idea of a grand coalition and I want to emphasise that it must be all inclusive,” Makoni said. “As for who will play what role — that will be determined by all of us when the time comes,” he said.
Sources from the MDC Renewal Team said they wanted to invite MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai to be part of the group although he would hold an office other than that of president.
“We would want him there but with a different role as he remains a key stakeholder in Zimbabwe opposition politics. Although he is now weak at the hands of Zanu PF, his presence in the grand coalition will obviously add to the numbers and complement the strengths each of the members are bringing on board,” said a senior official in the Renewal Team.
MDC Team spokesperson Jacob Mafume said the issue of who will lead the coalition will be discussed at a later stage as right now leaders are busy with deliberations on the principles.
“That issue will be discussed at a later stage. Currently we are busy with the principles that we need to adhere to as a united team,” Mafume said, adding “people had proposed a number of positions where Morgan Tsvangirai would participate in the democratisation of the country but what was not agreed was that he should be the leader. We want him in as much as we want any other person committed to the democratic principles but he should accept to take any other role and not that of the leader only”.
Nhlanhla Dube, spokesperson of the Ncube-led MDC, said meetings to form a coalition of democrats are underway and the leaders of the opposition parties are still deliberating the principles of the plan.
“We have not yet arrived at selecting who will lead this group. What we are doing right now is to create a working plan which all political parties will agree to,” Dube said.
Zapu national spokesperson Mjobisa Noko said consultations are being done informally and Zapu is still waiting to be approached formally.
“We hear consultations are being done informally and at personal levels. As a party we are still waiting for a formal approach and we have our conditions which have to be met before we are part of that coalition,” said Noko.