THE Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu and the National People’s Party (NPP) led by former Vice-President Joice Mujuru yesterday unveiled a coalition pact to challenge Zanu PF in Matabeleland in the 2018 elections.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU/SHARON SIBINDI
The Zapu, NPP and PDP leadership said they would not contest each other for any parliamentary seats in Matabeleland, before noting that “doors were still open” for a broader coalition with other opposition parties, raising fears that the MDC Alliance, which was announced recently, could have hit turbulence.
The three parties said they would “look for a common name” that brings them together, while also setting up several committees to spearhead their election campaigns ahead of the 2018 general elections.
PDP secretary-general, Gorden Moyo denied his involvement in yesterday’s coalition launch, signalling growing cracks in the Biti-led political party over differences in joining the MDC Alliance.
Moyo said PDP never signed the MDC Alliance pact.
“The PDP has not signed any deal called the MDC Alliance. Biti attended the launch, but to give solidarity speeches,” he said when asked by journalists whether the party’s involvement in the coalition would result in a split.
The MDC Alliance has left the MDC-T on the verge of another split, with leader Morgan Tsvangirai at odds with his deputy Thokozani Khupe, chairperson Lovemore Moyo and organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe.
The three were last month allegedly assaulted by MDC-T youths for refusing to embrace the MDC Alliance.
“We have been talking together (NPP, Zapu and PDP). The process of convergence is by nature protracted, political convergence takes time.
“As we speak, my colleagues told you we have been meeting, not for voter registration, but for elections,” Moyo said.
“We are not closing any doors for any grand alliance. We are working together.
“We are finalising our terms of working together. So, whether we are going to have a broader coalition at some point, it does not depend on us alone . . . we are engaging everyone, which is social movements, churches and women.”
NPP deputy president, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said the region needed an independent coalition to boot out Zanu PF from Matabeleland, adding negotiations were also ongoing in other regions with other opposition parties to ensure a clean sweep in the elections.
“These parties are working together now,” he said.
“We believe that not only in national politics, but in the region, the three parties must work together, support each other, carry each other, share notes and by supporting each other, I am talking about not competing against each other in this region.
“You will never find NPP contesting where Zapu is contesting and vice-versa.
“This leadership is working together to also come up with a common name.
“You will never see us saying we are Zapu Alliance, NPP Alliance or PDP Alliance, but we will contest this coming election as a bloc.”
Zapu secretary-general, Strike Mnkandla weighed in, saying the coalition sought to represent the interests of Matabeleland.
“This is a process to ensure that we eventually get a single and uncontested vote in this region . . . the interests of this region will not be second to any other and we shall not accept second place to anybody.
“This region should not be taken for granted. We will participate in national politics, but we will not be second best,” he said.
However, it seems the latest developments have not gone down well with PDP leader, Biti, who tweeted that the impasse on a coalition was being caused by tribalism.
“The late and great Masipula Sithole used to argue that tribalism was a tool of elites,” he said on microblogging site Twitter. “Current impasse on unity talks proves this.”