Tendai Biti’s breakaway movement has claimed that it is on the verge of signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with other political parties to form a grand coalition, but other formations have dismissed the claim as a lie.
Biti is heading an MDC splinter group recently broke up with Morgan Tsvangirai, who it mainly accuses of leadership failure, constitutional violations and violence.
“(Opposition) parties are now close to signing an MOU. Discussions are at an advanced stage and we are agreed that there is need for a grand coalition that would present a renewed focus to fight for democracy, economic development and progress,” Jacob Mafume, the MDC splinter spokesperson told The Zimbabwean.
Mafume said they preferred a “hybrid or rainbow model” in which the various political parties would complement each other by bringing together their expertise and efforts to achieve democratic change, rather than forming a single party.
“We are not seeking to share power; rather, from each according to its capacity. We are therefore looking at how best to establish structures that relate to this model,” added Mafume.
He named Zapu, led by Dumiso Dabengwa, Welshman Ncube’s MDC formation that split from Tsvangirai in 2005, Lovemore Madhuku’s National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Mavambo Kusile Dawn (MKD) led by Simba Makoni and MDC-99 that was headed by Job Sikhala before he rejoined Tsvangirai as the main parties that had agreed to the coalition.
However, MKD and Zapu dismissed Mafume’s claims, describing them as premature.
Evans Sagomba, the MKD national spokesperson, said Biti’s movement was rushing matters.
“Biti’s team is just being political and reckless. Yes, meetings have taken place, but we have not come to a stage where we can talk about technical things like signing an MOU. This is just what the team wants people to believe.
“As MKD we have agreed in principle on the need for a coalition but some fundamentals need to be addressed before that can happen. As it were, the Biti renewal team is a political party without a name and we need to know who they really are,” said Sagomba.
He urged the renewal group to first solve its wrangles with the MDC faction led by Tsvangirai, who MKD prefers to be part of the coalition.
He pointed out that Biti’s team recently announced that a stakeholders’ conference would be held in Gweru, the Midlands capital, last May without the blessing of prospective partners.
“The Biti team is probably rushing to make announcements so as to get an upper negotiating hand and be seen as the leader in the coalition-making process. When the time comes, a collective press conference will be held,” said Sagomba.
Mjobisa Noko, the Zapu secretary for information and publicity, said his party had not adopted a position regarding the coalition.
“We have been consulted, but we haven’t come up with a definitive position on the matter of a grand coalition. Our National People’s Council is the decision-making body in between congresses and it has not deliberated on the issue,” he told The Zimbabwean.