via Opposition coalition suffers stillbirth | The Herald December 4, 2015
Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
MDC-T and other opposition parties are struggling to form coalition forces to fight Zanu-PF that continues to successfully defend itself in all elections that have been held since independence in 1980.
This comes as another effort to forge an alliance by opposition political parties, flopped on Wednesday as MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, cut a lone figure as few representatives of political parties mostly from the fringes of Zimbabwe’s politics attended.
The failure by opposition parties to form an alliance comes as two opposition parties presented a petition to Parliament yesterday calling for the repeal of the Political Parties Finance Act to allow other political players to receive funding from the fiscus.
The Act currently restricts funding from the fiscus to those political parties that would have garnered at least five percent of the total votes cast, leaving the bulk of small opposition parties at the mercy of their membership. The Zimbabwe Development Party led by Mr Kisinoti Mukwazhe and Voice of the People headed by Mr Moreprecision Muzadzi, presented the petition where they complained that the threshold set by the Act was too high.
“The current Act sets a high minimum threshold to qualify for funding and in our eyes it is a ploy to throttle democracy and promote one party or two party democracy in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Mukwazhe in his petition.
Finance and Economic Development Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, allocated $6 million in the 2016 national budget to be shared between Zanu – PF and the MDC-T under the Political Parties Finance Act.
“We are then expected to contest the same elections with a raft of laws militating against our access to funds. Honourable Speaker Sir, the August House should execute its legislative role in tandem with the spirit of multi-democracy being demanded by the Constitution,” said Mr Mukwazhe.
In January 2013, the Constitutional Court dismissed an application by Mr Mukwazhi, seeking an order to compel Treasury to release funding to all political parties participating in national elections.
The court said it would be “irresponsible and dangerous for Government if all political parties were to be funded” from the fiscus.
Commenting on why opposition parties were struggling to form coalition, Mr Mukwazhe accused some parties such as the MDC-T of big head mentality.
“Some opposition party leaders do not behave like mature people but like mafias. We have tried it in the past, but have been let down by parties like MDC-T with a big head mentality,” said Mr Mukwazhe.
Mr Muzadzi echoed the same sentiments saying the MDC-T was not sincere.
MDC-T spokesperson, Mr Obert Gutu, denied that they were struggling to form coalitions.
‘’We are not at all struggling to form a coalition with other opposition political parties. As you know, the formation of a coalition is a process; not an event. It’s a marathon and not a sprint. Eleven political parties, including the MDC-T signed the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) document yesterday and indeed,that’s a very promising start,” said Mr Gutu.
He said a strong coalition of opposition parties was in the offing and dismissed allegations of big head mentality.
‘’The MDC – T does not have a big brother attitude. Granted, we are the largest and most popular political party in Zimbabwe but then, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we look down upon other political parties. We are democrats to the bare bone,” he said.
On Wednesday, Mr Tsvangirai cut a lone figure as he was flanked by representatives of small parties at the signing of a national electoral reforms agenda after some of the leading opposition leaders failed to turn up.
Some opposition figures that did not turn up for the much-hyped event were former Vice-President Joice Mujuru of the People First project and People’s Democratic Party leader, Tendai Biti.
Other absentees were Welshman Ncube (MDC), Elton Mangoma (Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe), Dumiso Dabengwa (Zapu) and Simba Makoni (Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn).
Little-known opposition parties attended the ceremony.