Mujuru solicits Tsvangirai help

Source: Mujuru solicits Tsvangirai help – DailyNews Live January 7, 2017

Mugove Tafirenyika

HARARE – Faced with a tough by-election in Bikita West in two weeks‘ time,
former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) is
banking on the heavyweight support of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
in the crucial dress rehearsal for next year’s eagerly-anticipated
national elections.

ZPF elder Didymus Mutasa told the Daily News yesterday that his party
planned to invite Tsvangirai to descend on Bikita West to address a joint
rally with Mujuru, to help drum up support for the ZPF candidate in the
hotly-contested constituency, Kudakwashe Gopo.

“It has been proposed that we work with our colleagues in the MDC and have
VaTsvangirai address the people of Bikita along with our president
(Mujuru) . . . please check with Colonel (Claudius) Makova, who is our
point person, to see how far these plans have gone,” Mutasa said.

Although Makova was not reachable, other ZPF insiders told the Daily News
that Mujuru was also hoping to convince Tsvangirai to join her when she
addresses a star rally in the constituency next week, in a move which is
also aimed at boosting confidence in the proposed opposition grand
alliance ahead of 2018.

“If all goes well, Save (Tsvangirai) will join Mai Mujuru when he returns
from Ghana at a joint rally, on the 14th, in Bikita. We expect the
president (Mujuru) and Save to share the podium as we prepare to take Zanu
PF to the cleaners come the 21st.

“In the process, the rally will also send a message to all who are
doubting the prospects of an opposition coalition that we are not about to
ignore the national sentiment that we should unite,” a senior ZPF official

Last year, Tsvangirai threw his weight behind independent candidate Temba
Mliswa in the equally key Norton by-election, leading to Zanu PF suffering
an embarrassing defeat.

The defeat further strained relations within warring ruling party factions
which are fighting to determine President Robert Mugabe’s succession, with
the Generation 40 (G40) group rabidly opposed to Vice President Emmerson
Mnangagwa ascending to the throne.

When contacted for comment, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said while they
were not playing an active role in the Bikita West poll, as the party
continues to boycott elections until its demands for electoral reforms are
met, they were in solidarity with all progressive forces in the country.

“As a political party, we are still bound by the `no reforms, no
elections’ resolution . . . Nevertheless, as the largest and most popular
political party in Zimbabwe, and also as the de facto
government-in-waiting, we are closely watching and monitoring political
developments in Bikita West constituency.

“We are resolutely pushing for electoral reforms under the Nera trajectory
and already, we have scored some significant victories,” he said adding
buoyantly that the MDC would form the next government after the 2018

MDC insiders have previously confirmed to the Daily News that Tsvangirai
is on the verge of sealing a historic pact with Mujuru and his former
secretary-general, Welshman Ncube, with the resolute former trade unionist
also telling diplomats late last year 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

His address to representatives of foreign governments also came after he
recently set out clear conditions for all his prospective coalition
partners – as the mooted grand alliance gets ever closer.

“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,” Tsvangirai
told the diplomats.

Sources close to the ongoing coalition talks also told the Daily News that
there was now “an agreement in principle” between Mujuru and Tsvangirai
about the two working together – with talks with Ncube apparently set to
be concluded soon.

Tsvangirai, who commands a huge following among Zimbabweans, and is the
only politician in the history of the country to defeat Mugabe and Zanu PF
in an election – in 2008 – has also said opposition parties needed to
field a candidate in 2018 with a real chance of winning that year’s poll.

“The presidential candidate must be selected on the basis of the best
individual who can win an election for the coalition against the
incumbent. The party, based on past performance and other factors, and
which is the strongest electorally in a given constituency must also field
the candidate for the coalition.

“The MDC is persuaded to be part a people-based pre-election pact for the
reasons that we are a people-based party with an electoral history and
which subscribes to the democratic principle that the authority to govern
is derived from the people,” he said.

Tsvangirai and Mujuru are part of the 18 opposition parties which have
coalesced under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera),
and which has recently scored a psychological victory by forcing the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to include them in committees tasked
with working on the 2018 election preparatory works.

Analysts have consistently said that a united opposition, fighting with
one purpose, would bring to an end Mugabe’s long rule – especially at this
time when the country’s economy is dying and the increasingly frail
nonagenarian is battling to keep his warring Zanu PF united.

Since Mujuru joined hands with Tsvangirai and marched with him in the
streets of Gweru in August last year – in a rare public display of unity
among the opposition – there have been growing calls by fed-up citizens
for the formation of a grand opposition alliance.

On her part, Mujuru has said that the country’s mooted grand coalition –
which is set to be in place this year – would bring to an end Mugabe and
Zanu PF’s long rule.

“My fellow citizens and countrymen, the Zanu PF government has failed. It
has shown that it lacks the commitment to implement programmes that better
the generality of our people.

“We agree with the sentiments which we gathered from the interactive
discussions we had with the people during our nation-wide tour. Your
message was loud and clear, that it’s time for Mugabe to leave office,”
Mujuru said late last year.

“We also take heed of your strong conviction for the need that opposition
parties should form a grand coalition to effect change in the regime and
bring about a new way that puts people first.

“As ZPF, we believe a grand coalition should not only quantify votes, but
should bring our people together. It should be a process capable of
fostering convergence and national healing. A process of such magnitude
should also be people-driven and guided by the need to build like-minded
synergies among various stakeholders,” she added.