Jeffrey Muvundusi and Fungi Kwaramba 3 February 2017
HARARE – MDC vice president Thokozani Khupe might have delivered a
knock-out blow to the party’s former secretary-general Welshman Ncube when
yesterday she publicly declared there was no need for the largest
opposition party to have coalition partners in Bulawayo province.
This comes as there are growing suspicions within the MDC that some senior
party officials are working to scuttle the mooted grand coalition which is
seen as the opposition’s best prospect of ending President Robert Mugabe
and Zanu PF’ long rule in the 2018 polls.
Zanu PF holds most seats in Matabeleland North and South but has been
losing to the MDC in the Bulawayo province since 2000.
Khupe, while throwing her weight behind the mooted electoral alliance,
questioned the wisdom of the MDC having to open the door to rival
opposition parties when it has been dominating Bulawayo since its
“I am not against any coalition but for me, the question that we must ask
ourselves is why we want a coalition as a political party,” Khupe said
after being asked about the coalition deal with Ncube.
“As a political party, when you want a coalition you will have realised a
gap in your party and as the MDC, where is our gap? It is clear our gap is
in Mashonaland East, West and Central where we have consistently not done
“So when looking for a coalition partner you must look for a partner who
is going to be able to cover that gap. What value are they going to add
when we have been winning consistently? You can’t look for a partner who
will come and disturb where you have won consistently since 2000.
“What value are they going to add? In a coalition, you must want value
addition to what you already have. You don’t want someone who will come
and disturb what we already have.
“What we don’t have right now is Mashonaland and that is where we need a
strong coalition partner and that is the only way we can be able to remove
Zanu PF,” added Khupe.
MDC insiders have previously said its leader Morgan Tsvangirai is on the
verge of sealing a historic pact with Ncube, and the leader of the
Zimbabwe People First (ZPF), Joice Mujuru – with whom he has been meeting
behind the scenes over the past few months.
Ncube yesterday said it was retrogressive to send conflicting signals of
the mooted coalition.
“Those responsible for preventing others to walk away from the 2008
coalition agreement need be careful that they are not seen today to be
working against the clear public sentiment that we must all do everything
in our power to give the people of this country a fighting chance to
remove the Zanu PF regime from power in 2018,” his party’s spokesperson,
Kurauone Chihwayi, told the Daily News.
“We would have thought that some basic common sense understanding will
reveal to anyone involved in our politics that winning Parliamentary seats
in whatever parts of the country and whatever quantities, is wholly
irrelevant to the primary question of garnering the requisite number of
votes for the presidential candidate which is what is required to cause a
change of government.”
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka has also revealed that the MDC
leader was warned that some of his lieutenants may want to fight the
alliance, not for any objective reason but for subjective motivations
driven by selfish and personal interests to do with positions.
Last week, during the tour of Matabeleland North, Tsvangirai was told by
traditional leaders and ordinary villagers that there was a strong
likelihood that Mugabe and Zanu PF would use some of the smaller
opposition parties to destabilise the mooted coalition alliance.
Last year, Tsvangirai also told diplomats that he was wary of the “real
prospects” of the panicking ruling Zanu PF using some of the country’s
smaller opposition parties to put spanners in the works of a viable grand
“Once again on this issue, Your Excellencies, you must understand that we
reserve our right to determine who we will work with.
“There are about 42 political parties in the country, some of them
deliberately created by Zanu PF to muddy the political waters.
“Some of them are not even institutions in the true sense of the word.
“We will do our own necessary diligence checks before we work with
anyone,” the MDC leader told the diplomats.