Blessings Mashaya 21 April 2017
HARARE – Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his former
secretary-general, Welshman Ncube, yesterday ended their long stand-off
when they signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work together in
the watershed 2018 national elections.
This comes after Tsvangirai signed a similar deal with former Vice
President Joice Mujuru on Wednesday, as the opposition edges closer to
finalising the long mooted grand coalition in their bid to end President
Robert Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s rule next year.
Yesterday’s pact ended 12 years of frosty relations between Tsvangirai and
Ncube, in a move which analysts said was a clear indication that the
opposition was now coming of age.
“It would also be equally dishonest not to recognise that in our journey
with Ncube we both made our own mistakes.
“We split our party in 2005. The cost of that vote splitting, in addition
to the blatant manipulation of results, delayed change for the people of
Zimbabwe in 2008.
“Ladies and gentleman, it takes humble leadership to accept one’s mistakes
and it also takes bold leadership to correct those mistakes,” Tsvangirai
told journalists in Harare yesterday.
“It is in this respect that I am both relieved and pleased to have signed
a memorandum of understanding with Ncube, as a first step towards undoing
the damage we caused ourselves.
“Today, Ncube and I will open a new chapter and craft a political
agreement that should see us harness and combine our known electoral
strengths to face our common opponent as a united front,” he added.
Singing from the same hymn sheet, a beaming Ncube said he also regretted
the split of a decade ago, and was confident that their newly-found
alliance would finally consign Mugabe and Zanu PF to a decisive electoral
defeat next year.
“Let me repeat what president Tsvangirai said, I also take personal
responsibility for the mistakes that we made in the past.
“We accepted that we divided our people, we divided the membership of the
party, which we should not have done.
“I too take responsibility for those mistakes. But what is more important
today is for us to not just accept those mistakes but begin to take steps
that are necessary for us to be accountable to the people of Zimbabwe.
“The people of Zimbabwe, wherever we go, tell us that we must unite. We
must come together to confront the regime that has caused so much misery
and so much chaos in this beautiful country.
“In 2018 we must not fail. The objective now should be bringing together
the democratic forces that have some value to add to the struggle and I
want to congratulate president Tsvangirai and his team for the work that
has been done,” Ncube said.
“If anyone in this country expects us to contest the next elections
separately as we did in 2008 and 2013 … it will not only be a third
moment of real madness, but the highest form of insanity and none of us is
insane,” Tsvangirai chipped in.
The former prime minister in the government of national unity has for the
past few months been working feverishly behind the scenes with Mujuru and
other smaller opposition leaders to finalise the grand coalition.
Optimism has been high ever since Tsvangirai and Mujuru publicly flaunted
their readiness to join forces against the ruling party, when they
appeared together in Gweru last August.
Analysts have also repeatedly said Mujuru, whose liberation struggle nom
de guerre was Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood), and whose husband Solomon was the
first black post-independence army commander, could provide the
much-needed bridge that opposition parties have been missing to ensure the
smooth transfer of power if they win elections again.
However, they have also warned that without a broad coalition involving
all the major opposition players, Zanu PF would use “its usual thuggish
and foul methods” to retain power in 2018.