MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai (pictured) yesterday said he would never be party to any coalition deal that falls outside the democratic values of legitimacy and elections, dismissing reports he was warming up to a possible coalition government with Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
By Everson Mushava
On Tuesday, an international news agency, Reuters, in a story titled Zimbabwean politicians plotting post-Mugabe reforms, reported that the opposition leader was in negotiations with Mnangagwa for a post-Mugabe government.
The report, based on intelligence reports, claimed Mnangagwa was co-operating with Tsvangirai to lead a transitional government for five years, with the tacit approval of Zimbabwe’s military and Britain.
But Tsvangirai, in a statement, said he last met Mnangagwa during the time of the inclusive government that ended in 2013, describing the Reuters report as malicious.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, said in the statement.
“For the record, president Morgan Tsvangirai has never held any meeting with Mnangagwa, whom he last met four years ago during the time of the inclusive government.
“President Tsvangirai and the party he leads will never be party to any government formed outside of elections.
“We are a democratic party that values the legitimacy that stems from the people’s involvement through a democratic process of elections.
“As such, president Tsvangirai will never be party to any deal that falls outside the democratic values of legitimacy and elections.”
Tamborinyoka said Tsvangirai had never had any meeting with the British military for the purported deal, which falls outside the realm and legitimate process of elections. “It is our unstinting belief that any government formed in this country must be a legitimate government that stems from elections, which elections are due in 2018 in line with the country’s Constitution,” he said.
“Any purported deal outside elections and involving diplomats, the military and other such characters will not be legitimate and will not rescue Zimbabweans from their current predicament simply because we are where we are as a country because of the crisis of legitimacy.”
While stability was important, Tamborinyoka said, Tsvangirai, who is leading a coalition of opposition parties ahead of the 2018 general elections, had always placed a far much higher premium on legitimacy and democracy.
“The MDC is not and will not be party to the Zanu PF factional wars and the false story by Reuters sadly projects the party and president Tsvangirai as appendages to the vicious quest by one of the Zanu PF factions to take over power outside of the legitimate process of elections,” Tamborinyoka said.
He said Tsvangirai was committed to the MDC Alliance, to which he agreed with six other opposition leaders last month in preparation for the 2018 general elections.
“Moreover, that alliance was formed in fulfilment of a resolution of the party’s congress, the decision of the national council and in furtherance of the genuine desire by the people of Zimbabwe to see a broad alliance of diverse Zimbabweans coming together to contest next year’s elections as a united front,” Tamborinyoka said.
“It is for that reason that we seek to strongly rebut the Reuters falsehood.
“The people of Zimbabwe are keen to express themselves in a free, fair and credible election.
“Any elite pact that seeks to avoid elections will be a betrayal of democracy and the legitimacy that stems from a credible electoral process in which the people freely express themselves.”
According to the story, Tsvangirai denied ever meeting Mnangagwa, but was quoted saying: “There was an intention expressed by Mnangagwa’s people for us to meet to discuss various issues, but that meeting never took place.”
Political analyst, Ibbo Mandaza said, notwithstanding the denial by the MDC-T leader, a pact between Tsvangirai and Mnangagwa was possible, given that the two politicians made similar overtures to each other a few years ago.
“It’s very feasible if you look at the current situation in Zanu PF and Emmerson’s social support base. Definitely, if he loses in the ongoing factional wars in Zanu PF, he is likely to come together with the opposition and form a quick alliance of some sort,” Mandaza opined.
“This is not exclusive to Mnangagwa, it can happen even to the other faction if they lose.
“But again, if you check, it almost happened in the 2002, 2003 during the (late defence forces commander Vitalis) Zvinavashe era. If you are a student of political history, there was a similar plan, which had Tsvangirai, (Zapu leader) Dumiso (Dabengwa) and Emmerson, so it’s very possible.
“But the question at the moment is: Did it happen?”