MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday set conditions for a possible coalition with ZimPF’s Joice Mujuru and Welshman Ncube’s MDC, but seemed to shut out People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Tendai Biti.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Tsvangirai said his party sought a pact “that minimises the unknowns by providing an equitable and scientific and objective basis for approaching the election based on known strengths of political leaders and parties nationally and in given electoral districts”.
This approach is seen as shutting out Biti, whose party has not contested in any election since its formation two years ago.
Ncube’s party fared badly in the last election, but MDC sources said they had an electoral base compared to the “unknown” PDP and the 13 other parties that have been pushing for a coalition.
A coalition with Ncube will come as a surprise for many, as there is reported bad blood between the MDC leader and Tsvangirai since an acrimonious split in 2005 and failed coalition talks in 2008.
Tsvangirai is said to be amenable to a union with Mujuru, as she is seen as bringing in a bloc of disgruntled and axed Zanu PF members and also has the liberation war gravitas, that many say is essential to leading the country.
The MDC-T leader yesterday told a Press conference that the envisaged coalition would field a single candidate to contest the presidential polls, one parliamentary contester in each constituency and a solitary nominee in each council ward in the 2018 elections.
Speaking to journalists after an MDC-T national council meeting, Tsvangirai said they had set and defined the party’s principles for engagement with other parties in the envisaged coalition.
“In this regard, we will engage with and seek to enter into an electoral alliance with political parties who share or subscribe to our vision of a society that prides itself for not leaving anyone behind in their pursuit of freedom, prosperity and happiness,” he said.
The former Premier said the most popular candidates in a particular area would be allowed to contest.
Tsvangirai said the coalition partners should agree to field one presidential candidate, who had clear chances of winning against President Robert Mugabe in 2018.
He said parties involved would have to agree on a working plan and on key policy issues before the election.
“After successfully winning the election, the coalition president shall, in terms of the Constitution of the republic, appoint a national State executive of vice-presidents, ministers and deputy ministers guided by the following principles and considerations,” Tsvangirai said.
“The principles are: A lean and competent executive, a regionally-balanced executive, a gender-balanced executive, an inclusive executive, including all alliance partners, and respect for and accommodation of other stakeholder interests, including youth and minorities.”
He was, however, coy on who would lead the coalition, saying that would be based on the outcome of the talks.
Tsvangirai promised his party would be rejuvenated in 2017 in the fight against Zanu PF, as they prepare for 2018.
The MDC-T leader did not give a time-frame for the setting-up of a coalition, although he conceded they had to deal with matters of building confidence first before agreeing.
“I cannot say by this time this is going to be the end, but I can tell you that we want to conclude whatever discussions we are having with those parties as soon as possible,” he said.
Tsvangirai claimed Zanu PF had already started setting up rigging machinery ahead of the elections, as they had realised it would be difficult to win the elections.
He said they would contest the 2018 elections and continue to pressurise the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to implement electoral reforms, so that they appreciate that it was futile to have polls that were always disputed.
“We are very conscious that Zanu PF is determined to rig the next election. We have the facts and the intelligence of what they are doing,” Tsvangirai said.
“We also know the extent to which Nikuv International Projects is involved, so we will be pursuing that and we will give you the information, as we roll it out, but we are very much aware of the determination of Zanu PF to rig the next elections and we are ready for that.”
Nikuv is accused of rigging the 2013 elections in Zanu PF’s favour.
Tsvangirai described as shocking that the High Court on Monday sentenced three party activists for killing a senior police officer in Glen View in 2011 to 20 years behind bars.
He described both the conviction and sentence as politically motivated in order to intimidate and instil fear in activists, so they would not challenge the Zanu PF government.
Tsvangirai, however, said people had seen worse and would not be deterred.