PEOPLE’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Tendai Biti has cast doubts on the ability of political parties in Zimbabwe to unite and form a formidable coalition, which will challenge President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF in the 2018 general elections.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Biti said opposition party leaders were too selfish and had big egos, which stood in the way of progressive coalition talks, making it very difficult for the mooted grand coalition to take effect.
“I think it’s going to be very difficult in Zimbabwe to have coalitions, there are a lot of egocentric and selfish actors in our discourse, but I think we have to do better, he said.
“We have to go beyond these individuals and establish a matrix of working together because that’s what our people want. It’s not about me or what the next leader of a political party wants. So we have to put our people first, so we can reconstruct this country after the mess and collapse caused by (President) Robert Mugabe.”
Biti was speaking ahead of a crunch meeting for opposition political parties over the coalition snubbed by Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T and former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s ZimPF, which is due to take place in Cape Town, South Africa.
The meeting has been facilitated by the Zimbabwe Institute, led by Isaac Maphosa, who MDC-T and ZimPF sources claimed has close links to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste faction and the South African government.
Tsvangirai and Mujuru were called by Jeff Radabe, a minister in President Jacob Zuma’s office, but they snubbed the meeting at the 11th hour. Some of the opposition parties, however, left the country yesterday to South Africa for the talks.
Although he declined to talk about the meeting, Biti said his party remained hopeful that a coalition will take place and be at the centre of rescuing an ailing Zimbabwean economy by establishing a National Transitional Authority (NTA).
“We are focusing on a National Transitional Authority, this country needs a soft landing. This country needs an inclusive moratorium on elections until we sort all the disasters and beyond the NTA we need to establish the democratic developmental State,” he said.
Biti, who said he was prepared to take over the leadership of the coalition if elected to do so, rubbished critics, who have labelled PDP as a small party seeking a coalition to safeguard his own political future.
Tsvangirai told his supporters that he was not interested in a coalitions or a government of national unity, but, instead, conditions that make it possible for a free and fair elections.
Insiders in his party said MDC-T had snubbed the South Africa meeting because they believed some of the opposition parties were being funded by Zanu PF to undermine the MDC-T.
“There are parties, who are pushing to undermine the MDC-T and we think they are being sponsored by Zanu PF, we have since seen that plot and pulled out of those negotiations because we are now not sure of who is behind this push for a coalition,’ a source said.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu, said his party believed in home grown solutions and would thus not seek to form coalitions outside Zimbabwe.