THE Tendai Biti-led opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) party has gagged its members from denouncing other opposition forces in a bid to mend bridges and work towards a coalition, NewsDay has learnt.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Part of an internal PDP memorandum leaked to NewsDay read: “Members are advised that as a party, we have adopted a friendly approach to all opposition efforts. On that note, we shall not publicly denounce other opposition parties except on a matter of principle.”
Biti has not seen eye to eye with his erstwhile comrades in the MDC-T party led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, following their acrimonious split in 2014 after the party’s humiliating electoral defeat by Zanu PF in the 2013 elections.
He has also blasted Tsvangirai’s “big brother mentality” and “big-tent” approach to coalition politics in the opposition.
However, as if to cement his paradigm shift, Biti was at the weekend pictured outside the MDC-T Harvest House headquarters in central Harare sharing lighter moments with Tsvangirai’s followers.
PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume confirmed Biti’s new move, but dismissed the MDC-T headquarters sojourn as “just a chance event”.
“The stance was taken after realising that the (President Robert) Mugabe issue now transcends most facets of our lives, including political and religious affiliation. It is no longer about who is better than the other, but how we can work together to liberate Zimbabweans from the clutches of this regime,” he said.
“That, however, cannot be achieved when we belittle, ridicule and insult each other. Hence, we have taken this move as a sign of our commitment to creating a platform for opposition parties to work together towards a common goal.”
Biti’s party did not sign an inter-party pact inked by a group of opposition parties last week, after his membership decided against the move.
He, along with other senior leaders in his party, however, attended the signing ceremony.
Insiders in the opposition party told NewsDay that instead Biti has been ordered to seek a pact with Tsvangirai and the Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) led by former Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
Biti has been on record as saying the opposition in Zimbabwe has failed because it lacked “the liberation component” that Mujuru and her band of former Zanu PF stalwarts possessed.