Source: Mujuru’s proposal on coalition leader shot down – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 29, 2017
POLITICAL analysts have shot down former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s call for primary elections to select a single opposition candidate to stand against President Robert Mugabe in next year’s general elections, describing the proposal as untenable.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
The analysts said the proposal was complicated and unlikely to succeed, given the high levels of mistrust among opposition leaders already involved in coalition talks.
Mujuru, who heads the National People’s Party, made the proposal during a campaign rally in Chitungwiza last week.
Political analyst, Llyod Sachikonye described the idea as too complicated.
“It looks too complicated. I understand they may want to be seen to satisfy two levels of democracy which are internal democracy and competition but I think this is too complicated,” he said.
“One possible approach is to decide and agree where a particular party is stronger and then field one candidate.
The challenge is how to judge how a certain party is stronger in a particular constituency. The formula looks messy and complicated although the democratic intention is good because they will be looking for a popular candidate,” he said, adding there was high likelihood of misunderstandings.
Another analyst, Eldred Masunungure, said: “They want to demonstrate that they are a force to be reckoned with and that they have enough candidates for all those constituencies. It’s a bargaining tool and if they stick to their own candidates it will defeat the spirit and the practice of a coalition.
“That will not be sustainable and it will be the death of that coalition. What she said is clearly not in the spirit of a coalition. It appears as if the negotiations that lie ahead have failed and it might be read by critics in her party and other coalition partners as a statement that they have abandoned the coalition talks.”
Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said: “She doesn’t understand how coalitions work. Primaries destroy confidence in individuals who have capacity but with no grassroots influence. I prefer meritocracy to populism.”
Activist, Farai Maguwu, said creating winners and losers in a coalition might be problematic in creating a conducive environment to working together.
“As I see it the coalition roadmap is fraught with many pitfalls and danger warning signs. It’s a mix of oil and water. If such primaries are going to happen how are they going to create the electoral register? This will no doubt create winners and losers that will lead to serious divisions.
“But what is more interesting to me is how this coalition talk can be manipulated by the ruling party by keeping the opposition extremely busy with the impossible till election day,” Maguwu said.
But MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said they will not be drawn into discussing the alliance in public.
“The MDC has a standing national council resolution whereby all coalition deliberations are headed by president Morgan Tsvangirai. This helps us to ensure and maintain consistency and message discipline. For the record, we don’t negotiate in public.
MDC spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi, said his party had not yet endorsed the decision to hold primary elections.
“Going to primary elections or not will come from negotiations that are currently taking place. I don’t know where she got it because we did not sign a memorandum of understanding with the party you are talking about. I cannot predict the outcome of something that is being cooked. We are still talking and everything will be contained in the agreement.”