MDC-T must play ball — not to the gallery

News that the MDC-T is dillydallying over campaigning for Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) candidate, Kudakwashe Gopo in the impending by-election makes for sad reading and shows that the formation of a coalition is not as close as many would have hoped it was.

Comment: NewsDay Editor

MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai
MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai

MDC-T have a right not to campaign for anyone, but the prospects of a coalition will not be harmed if they were to campaign with ZimPF and this could have been the impetus the alliance talks needed.

Those desperate for change were elated when MDC-T threw its lot with Temba Mliswa for the Norton by-election and thought this heralded an era of opposition players putting their differences aside and working together for the good of the country.

It is quite infantile for some players in MDC-T to say they want to sit out this one so they can measure ZimPF’s performance in elections before agreeing to a coalition.

It is as if the party wants ZimPF to fail and if it does, it becomes a lesser partner in any coalition and this is tantamount to negotiating in bad faith.

If anything, it points to an MDC-T that is comfortable in opposition circles and it may need a shake-up.

There is history to this.

MDC-T, ahead of the 2008 elections, turned down a unity deal with MDC and with it squandered its best opportunity to govern the country, as MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai was ahead in the first round of voting, but fell short of claiming an absolute majority.

We can only speculate what could have happened had the two parties united, but a simple addition of the votes they garnered points to a straightforward electoral victory.

There have been discussions about a third way, which some have shot down either saying it would split votes or is a Zanu PF project, but maybe this is what Zimbabwean opposition needs, a new player that will shake up the scene and prevent these more established players from resting on their laurels.

The third way may be continuously shot down as unviable, but for many, who are desperate for change and frustrated with mainstream politics and politicians, this could be the only way of salvaging Zimbabwe.

There is still time and Tsvangirai may yet attend to the Bikita West rally, but already negative vibes have been sent out and this does not augur well for a coalition.

Ultimately, the MDC-T, arguably the biggest opposition party on the land, gets to choose who it goes to bed with, but for the sake of the 2018 elections, it has to choose now, otherwise it is leaving it too late.

If there is to be a coalition, then it has to be now, so the candidates are sold to and known by the electorate, leaving it too late could be disastrous.

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