MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai is reportedly anxious to meet former Vice-President Joice Mujuru as the main opposition party leader’s bid to form a grand coalition to challenge Zanu PF in the 2018 elections gathers momentum.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Mujuru, whose People First (PF) project is yet to be transformed into a political party, has emerged as a strong force in opposition since her expulsion from Zanu PF in March last year where she was accused of plotting President Robert Mugabe’s downfall.
PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed yesterday that Tsvangirai had made overtures to engage Mujuru on a one-on-one basis to conjure up a formidable opposition alliance ahead of the 2018 watershed elections.
“They [MDC-T] have been pushing for a meeting of the two leaders [Mujuru and Tsvangirai], but we are yet to launch a party, she does not have the people’s mandate as yet and it would be difficult to see the capacity in which she would meet him,” Gumbo said.
The former Zanu PF spokesperson, however, said Mujuru and Tsvangirai would meet “at the appropriate time”.
“We will get them to meet, but when the right time comes. Tsvangirai has met (Didymus) Mutasa (former Zanu PF secretary for administration). We will continue to engage,” Gumbo said.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu, however, denied reports that the two had already held secret meetings.
“No such meeting ever took place. President Morgan Tsvangirai has been on record stating that any formal consultations with Joice Mujuru and her group can only start to happen when she has formally launched her party,” Gutu said.
“How can our leader talk to people who are yet to form their own party? Morgan Tsvangirai is a mega brand, but he is always willing and able to sit down and compare notes with the leaders of any progressive and democratic political parties with whom we share the same values, vision and aspirations.”
Asked if the MDC-T has sought to arrange a meeting between the two, Gutu was evasive saying: “We are presently fully engaged with the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), which has been agreed upon by more than 13 political parties, PF included.
“The MDC is a very keen and enthusiastic participant in the Nera trajectory. We are a party that believes in national convergence on all key and material issues that concern the welfare of the majority of Zimbabweans.”
Tsvangirai has boycotted all by-elections held after the 2013 harmonised elections demanding implementation of key electoral reforms and levelling of the political playing field to guarantee credible election results.
The country’s opposition has been weakened by internal fights and splits. The MDC-T, in particular, the biggest political grouping outside Zanu PF, was crippled by a second split inside 10 years following its electoral defeat in 2013.
Calls have been growing from across the country for an opposition coalition to take advantage of the internal succession struggle bedevilling Zanu PF and Mugabe’s advanced age ahead of what could be a defining election in 2018.
Almost all opposition parties have shown their willingness to form a coalition and Tsvangirai has publicly invited others to join his “Big Tent”.