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Coalition by July 31: Tsvangirai

Politics
MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai (pictured) yesterday declared that the proposed coalition of opposition parties will be a done deal by the month-end, so that various stakeholders would have enough time to strategise collectively to dislodge President Robert Mugabe in next year’s elections.

MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai (pictured) yesterday declared that the proposed coalition of opposition parties will be a done deal by the month-end, so that various stakeholders would have enough time to strategise collectively to dislodge President Robert Mugabe in next year’s elections.

BY OBEY MANAYITI/XOLISANI NCUBE

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai

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Addressing journalists after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Jacob Ngarivhume of Transform Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai said there was need to put an end to speculation on the electoral pact and embark on real issues affecting the people.

“We are targeting the end of July to end these bilateral discussions and we are open to anyone who wants to discuss with us,” he said.

“Once this is agreed, then we will have an alliance agreement and we will be able to have a strategy for elections because I think time is running out and we need to sit down and see how we can tackle the question of elections.”

Tsvangirai, who has already signed similar agreements with National People’s Party leader, Joice Mujuru and MDC’s Welshman Ncube, said there was need to shift focus to building networks beyond political parties.

“All coalition discussions should end by the end of this month and that the party should now engage in organisational work, which is preparing for elections, continue with networking (and) building networks,” the former Premier said.

Tsvangirai dismissed speculative reports that Mujuru had dumped the MoU she signed with him to pursue another electoral alliance with other political parties.

The MDC-T leader expressed hope that the coalition would win elections despite claims that Zanu PF had already started rigging next year’s polls.

“We don’t want another dispute because any dispute that is going to arise out of this forthcoming election will condemn this country for the next five years to lack of progress, to poverty and, of course, lack of jobs,” he said.

“For me, the 2018 election, we are going to win it, even in the face of rigging circumstances. We are going to win it and I want to encourage every Zimbabwean to have a mentality of saying we are going to make change come 2018.

“It doesn’t matter what Zanu PF can do, this is the year in which the people of Zimbabwe will rescue themselves from this authoritarian regime.”

Tsvangirai accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) of exposing itself to manipulation by Zanu PF by tampering with the biometric voter registration data servers.

He said they foiled a plan where Zanu PF, which is registering its people electronically, was trying to have access to the server.

Tsvangirai said although there was need to reach out to other parties, it was important to vet the parties, as some of them were just individuals and not institutions.

He accused Zanu PF of being preoccupied with succession issues, while leaving the country on autopilot. Ngarivhume said he was excited to be part of the coalition and that only a united front would be strong enough to remove Zanu PF.

“We believe the MDC-T is a very important partner, as we approach 2018 because they are the main opposition and, you know, any meaningful alliance will have to include the MDC-T and so we are quite happy to enter into this alliance to build a formidable force,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mujuru yesterday left other opposition leaders guessing after she failed to pitch up to sign another coalition deal with parties affiliated to the Coalition of Democrats (Code).

Code comprises of MDC, Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party, Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu and Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe led by Elton Mangoma, among others.

Democratic Assembly for Restoration of the Economy president, Gilbert Dzikiti, the Code acting chairperson, told a news conference that Mujuru had indicated that she was still looking for a bigger place to accommodate her supporters.

“We had been told that they are looking for a bigger place to host the signing ceremony, a place that could accommodate their supporters,” Dzikiti said as he welcomed Marceline Chikasha of African Democratic Party into Code.

“She (Mujuru) is ready to join Code, but we do not have the date and time or the venue when the event will be held. But it is a matter of time,” Dzikiti said.

Mujuru’s spokesperson, Gift Nyandoro’s mobile phone went unanswered when sought for comment.