Fungi Kwaramba 25 February 2017
HARARE – MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has warned President Robert Mugabe
that he faces not only a united opposition in the 2018 elections, but also
internal revolt within the ruling Zanu PF.
The opposition leader’s comments are on the back of the nonagenarian
leader boasting during his 93rd birthday interview that he would win the
forthcoming watershed elections because there is no meaningful opposition
to his 37-year rule.
But Tsvangirai – Mugabe’s long-time rival – thinks otherwise.
Through his spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka, he said the continent’s oldest
leader – who celebrates his birthday milestone in Matopos today – has a
“tendency of writing us (MDC) off”, but faces a rude awakening in next
year’s key polls.
“We…later on haunt him; we did the same thing in 2008. We had problems
as the MDC in 2005, and then against all expectations, we beat him in the
2008 elections. He should be careful what he says,” Tamborinyoka said.
With the country hurtling towards the elections, opposition parties are
racing against time to strike a coalition deal, which analysts say could
end Zanu PF rule.
Behind the scenes, the hugely popular MDC leader is desperate to sign an
election covenant with other opposition parties, particularly the Joice
Mujuru-led Zimbabwe People First.
But a fortnight ago, the much-hyped grand coalition appeared to suffer a
stillbirth after Mujuru’s party crumbled under the weight of
Despite stark differences in the opposition circles, Tamborinyoka
reiterated that Mugabe was going to face a united opposition next year.
“The president has been mandated to form a grand coalition and it is
coming, we will however not discuss such issues in the media, what I can
tell you is that there is overwhelming support for a grand coalition and
that is what Mugabe is going to face next year,” said Tamborinyoka.
“We are not really worried about what Mugabe says because he is now old,
so whatever he says is consistent with people of his age, he is a senile
man who is living in dreamland.
“We would like to remind him that even before he comes to us, he should
face the internal opposition in his party. It was actually Mugabe who was
telling us that there are factions in his party and that is opposition to
While Tsvangirai and Mujuru have been reluctant to join the Coalition for
Democrats (Code) – a loose alliance of seven smaller opposition parties –
PDP president Tendai Biti joined the alliance last week.
While there is no love lost between Biti and Tsvangirai – something that
could stymie the grand coalition – analysts and observers say the two
former allies have so much in common and should bury their egos for the
good of the country.
Speaking after officially joining Code, Biti said while there is no doubt
that a grand coalition could give Zanu PF a run for their money, there was
need for all opposition parties to put aside their selfish interests and
realise that “no political party is bigger than the other”.
“This is a coalition that is not in competition with other opposition
parties but we are not going to bow before anyone…we are going to work
very hard to ensure that next year we give Zanu PF a run for their money,
we are coming for you Mugabe, we are coming for you Grace, we are coming
for your children,” Biti said.