Source: Coalition talks divide MDC-T – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 3, 2016
Main opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai (pictured) is in a Catch-22 situation after it emerged most members of his national executive were against the idea of a grand coalition with other pro-democracy groups, despite his claims that the party had endorsed the idea.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Tsvangirai told journalists in Bulawayo last Friday that the MDC-T national executive had given him the full mandate to enter into coalition negotiations with other opposition parties ahead of the 2018 elections.
But MDC-T local government secretary Eddie Cross told NewsDay yesterday the majority claimed otherwise.
“Yes, the majority of the party leadership feels that a coalition will not help. The president (Tsvangirai) is naturally bound by the feelings of the majority,” he said.
“As far as we are concerned, a coalition should be built on two things: the interests of the country and the will of the people. In the majority of cases, we do not see this in our colleagues in the opposition movement.”
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu referred questions to Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka, who in turn said his boss had enunciated his party’s position “and that is a matter of public record”.
“The opinions of individual members can only be answered by those members,” Tamborinyoka said.
As pressure from different quarters mount for opposition parties to find common ground and fight the coming elections as a single grouping against the ruling Zanu PF party, Tsvangirai in the past few weeks has been sending mixed signals over his party’s possible participation in the proposed grand coalition.
“If you don’t have shared vision, you can’t have partnership and you waste a lot of time tearing each other apart, pursuing different agendas,” he said then, before he later made a volte-face endorsing coalition efforts .
But Cross’ remarks dovetailed with those made by MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora last month when he said the party had “shelved coalition plans”.
To add to the confusion, MDC-T women’s assembly chairperson Lynette Karenyi was over the weekend quoted saying they supported the coalition efforts to unseat Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe.
“There is need for the likes of (Joice) Mujuru (former Vice-President and Zimbabwe People First leader) to join hands with us so that we can fight this ruthless regime,” Karenyi was quoted as having said.