MDC president Welshman Ncube and Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa have settled for a pact following protracted negotiations that failed to culminate in the formation of a coalition ahead of elections on July 31.
Report by Nqobile Bhebhe
The two failed to agree on who would lead a coalition of their two parties.
“It was difficult for me and Welshman Ncube to decide who to step down on the presidential candidate,” said Dabengwa.
Elaborating why the two leaders filed separately eyeing the presidency, Dabengwa said discussions dragged on until there was little time to reach an agreement before June 28 set for the Nomination Court.
Ncube said dialogue remains open from president to council candidates for some to step down for someone else.
“With respect to the issue of the two parties’ presidential candidature, the parties expressed desirability of consolidating their share of votes by not splitting the vote. They, however, acknowledged the complexity of the issue and undertook to consult their respective executive committees to get guidance,” reads part of their communiqué .
“That in any constituency and or ward where one party has not fielded a candidate, the other party will mobilise its members and supporters to vote for the other party’s candidate,” the communiqué said.
The announcement comes amid separate talks by five political parties, including Ncube’s MDC, Tsvangirai’s MDC-T and Dabengwa’s Zapu, mulling the formation of a grand coalition to face Zanu PF in the July 31 elections.
Ncube and Dabengwa told journalists in Bulawayo during a joint Press conference that they were still open for further talks with other parties and were not “shutting Tsvangirai out”.
They said they would only engage MDC-T in the event of a presidential run-off.
Dabengwa said in his discussions with Tsvangirai and his team, the Premier was “allocating roles to Zapu which was unacceptable”.
“Tsvangirai approached me on the issue of a coalition to topple Mugabe with a predetermined plan on the president of the coalition that was not acceptable,” Dabengwa said.
“We have been in discussion with Ncube since December and Tsvangirai only approached me four days after the ConCourt (Constitutional Court) ruling on elections, surely there was no time for detailed discussions.”
Ncube said by not including Tsvangirai in the alliance, they were not shutting him out saying: “this is not a statement to anyone, but it’s a result of certain consequences.”
Yesterday, Tsvangirai was forced to abort a Press conference he was supposed to address with Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Simba Makoni on the coalition after he was informed of the Ncube-Dabengwa pact in Bulawayo.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said it was the two parties’ democratic right to enter into a pact, adding that talks for a grand coalition were still open and a Press conference would be called once there is a deal.
“If something comes up with regards to the coalition, a Press conference will be called. We are in a democracy and they have exercised their democratic right,” he said.
However, Zapu and MDC said they would not allow a situation where either party enters into negotiations with another political party without the knowledge of the other.