HomeLocal NewsTsvangirai in countrywide coalition consultations

Tsvangirai in countrywide coalition consultations

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MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai will this week kickstart a countrywide tour to seek national consensus from his structures and Zimbabweans in general on a proposed coalition of opposition parties, as his party continues giving mixed signals on the formation of an alliance.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

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

In a statement yesterday, the MDC-T said Tsvangirai would, during his tour, seek to “interact, as well as hear from the people themselves their views on a range of issues”, including the proposed opposition coalition.

“He kicks off his national tour in Matabeleland South this Friday before proceeding to Matabeleland North, Bulawayo, Midlands, Masvingo and the rest of the provinces,” the statement said.

“This is a highly interactive tour, where he shall be meeting ordinary people, party structures, as well as opinion leaders in the country’s provinces to hear them out on the crisis facing the country, as well as other national issues, alliance building being key among them.”

Zimbabwe is preparing for general elections next year and there are strong calls for opposition parties to unite if they are to have any hope of defeating President Robert Mugabe, who is likely to contest his last election at 94.
Tsvangirai has indicated talks with former Vice-President Joice Mujuru and her Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) party are progressing well.

The MDC-T leader recently told a South African television station that a coalition with Mujuru “is a done deal”, but there seems to be internal squabbles over the issue within his party.

Wrangling over whether to support Mujuru’s party in the impending Bikita West by-election could be a pointer that coalition talks are anything but a done deal.

The MDC-T has given Tsvangirai carte blanche to choose an election partner in next year’s general elections amid indications he could sideline a host of “briefcase political parties”.

“The party, through the national council, the supreme decision-making body between congresses, has already adopted the principles for alliance building. The president’s interactive programmes are meant to further enrich the alliance building process so that the leadership proceeds and is informed by the people’s views and input,” the opposition party said.

Late last year, following internal deliberations, Tsvangirai set out stringent conditions for a possible coalition in what was widely seen as a plan to freeze out his former lieutenants, who broke away to form their own parties after disagreements with the veteran trade unionist.

Among the conditions included a clause that stipulates that “the party, based on past performance and other factors and which is the strongest electorally in a given constituency, must also field the candidate for the coalition”.

Tsvangirai also demanded that the coalition candidate must be someone who is able to win an election against Mugabe.

But a senior party member this week indicated there is a growing “re-thinking” within the MDC-T.

“We cannot afford to freeze out anyone. It does not help our cause. We need all hands on deck and that means at times swallowing our pride,” NewsDay heard.

The MDC-T in the statement said it believed “in the mass line and that every party action on this matter must be guided by the views and the direct input from the ordinary people”.

Tsvangirai, the statement said, valued people’s participation and input on all important matters and his decisions would be informed by input from the ordinary people.

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