… as bitter rivals edge towards a coalition
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his fierce splinter rival MDC boss Welshman Ncube have all but clinched a coalition agreement which will see the two parties supporting each other’s candidates in selected constituencies in next year’s general elections, ending 12 years of political estrangement.
By Wongai Zhangazha
The Zimbabwe Independent is reliably informed that Ncube, who at one time vowed never to work with Tsvangirai because of his “dictatorial tendencies and propensity to breach the party constitution”, have found each other after months of negotiations.
Inside sources in both parties revealed the two were close to signing a coalition agreement which will see Ncube being given a senior post in a Tsvangirai-led government.
“Tsvangirai and Ncube are close to signing an agreement. However, there are still some areas that need to be ironed out. The two political parties have agreed in principle that they will select the constituencies where each party will field a candidate on a sort of proportional representation. The parties will then support each other, that is, there won’t be any competition between the two parties,” said the source. “This is just a first step in forming a coalition or even uniting the MDC as well as other opposition parties ahead of elections. Ncube will benefit from the arrangement as his candidates will ride on Tsvangirai’s popularity, while Tsvangirai will benefit from Ncube’s credibility and strategic thinking.”
Contacted for a comment on Wednesday Ncube said while his party has been in talks with Tsvangirai’s MDC since last year, no agreement had been reached.
“Nothing has been agreed on anything yet. However, in principle that is not how a coalition works. Candidates belong to the coalition and not to its constituent elements,” Ncube said.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said a deal is yet to be sealed with Ncube.
“Nothing has been sealed with anyone. Coalitions are the exclusive zone of the president (Tsvangirai), but there has been no agreement with anyone. If there is such an agreement, then the president has an obligation to brief the executive organs of the party. That he is yet to do so means it’s still speculation at this stage. You also need to know that the alliance goes beyond political parties to include other stakeholders as well,” Tamborinyoka said. “It’s all still speculation. If there is an agreement with anyone, the executive organs of the party would have known ahead of the media.”
The Tsvangirai-Ncube talks have irked MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe who recently said there was no need for her party to entertain the idea of a coalition in Matabeleland regions where the party is strong and popular. Khupe said a coalition is only needed in Mashonaland provinces where the MDC-T has not been performing well.
“As a political party, you want a coalition because you will have realised a gap in your party and, as the MDC-T, where is our gap? It is clear that our gap is in Mashonaland East, West and Central where we have consistently not done well,” Khupe said.
But MDC-T insiders say after learning from the defeats in 2008 and 2013, Tsvangirai and other senior officials believe a coalition is the best way to defeat President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.
The sources said Tsvangirai also intends to reach out to other opposition leaders, include former vice-president Joice Mujuru, Simba Makoni and Dumiso Dabengwa.