Giant leap towards grand coalition

via Giant leap towards grand coalition – Nehanda Radio | Nehanda Radio May 8 2015

Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) leader Simba Makoni is at the forefront of the coalition talks, whose major achievement to date has been to narrow the opposition parties’ areas of conflict while working closely where they have common interests.

The cluster is presently made up of four opposition parties namely MKD, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by Morgan Tsvangirai; ZAPU headed by Dumiso Dabengwa, and Lovemore Madhuku’s National Constitutional Assembly (NCA).

Dabengwa and Makoni broke away from ZANU-PF in 2008 while Tsvangirai and Madhuku once worked together in the 1990s as they fought for a new constitution to replace the negotiated Lancaster House charter, which had become obsolete.

The quartet has recently been issuing joint statements on national occasions such as the Independence Day and the Workers Day, in what marked the first step towards the coalition agenda.

The four parties hope to persuade the other MDC formations led by Welshman Ncube and Sekai Holland to join their cause in a bid to pose a formidable challenge to ZANU-PF, which has dominated the political space in Zimbabwe since independence 35 years ago.

Their intention is also to rope in the civic society, the church and other influential leaders to rally behind their cause.

Makoni confirmed the latest development saying the parties were cooperating on specific issues that would build familiarity, confidence and mutual trust as a basis for grand the coalition.

“I have been calling for a grand coalition for change for a long time and I spare no effort towards that end,” he said.

“The four of us have agreed on a common message for independence and Workers Day and we will continue agreeing on common positions on an incremental basis. This is the basis for building a stronger, wider and more embracing cooporation. The more we work together, the closer we will be to a grand coalition or a national platform,” he added.

While the negotiations are still in their preliminary stage, the parties are upbeat about the new coalition plans.

Attempts by the MDC, ZAPU, ZANU Ndonga and MKD to form a coalition against ZANU-PF ahead of the 2013 harmonised elections failed to amount to anything significant.

The election saw Makoni pulling out of the race for the presidency as it became clear that the coalition talks were headed nowhere as he threw his weight behind Tsvangirai.

Dabengwa also hammered out a loose alliance with Ncube which did very little to win them votes.

Soon after the 2013 synchornised elections won by ZANU-PF, there were attempts to resume the talks but these were dampened by sharp differences, especially among the MDC formations.

The MDC led by Ncube and the MDC Renewal Team under Holland have not been amenable to working with their former boss, Tsvangirai, whom they accuse of being autocratic.

They have since formed their own alliance under the title United Movement for Democratic Change, which has encountered teething problems in its early stages as leaders jostle for top posts.

In Ncube’s backyard, the MDC, the party has also been hit by a massive exodus of party leaders.

Hinting of prospects for a much broader alliance, Makoni said the coalition would embrace all “democratic leaders”.

“We are not putting barriers because the key issue is confronting the reality of a nation in leadership deficit. We are building a coalition not only of political parties but one that also embraces all leaders concerned with the welfare of Zimbabweans. It’s deeper than just taking (President Robert) Mugabe out of office,” he said.

MDC-T spokesman, Obert Gutu, also confirmed that his party was involved in the process.

He said the MDC-T will always compare notes and share ideas with slike-minded political parties and other related organisations.

“Our main focus as a party is to bring a peaceful democratic change to Zimbabwe and in the pursuit for our goals, we shall continue to collaborate and establish synergies with progressive and patriotic political formations,” he said.

ZAPU spokesperson, Mjobisa Noko, said they have decided to work together on all issues of national interest.

“Yes we can have that grand coalition. ZAPU has always said it was open to the formation of a united front involving like-minded democrats,” said Noko.

Madock Chivasa, the NCA spokesperson, weighed in saying the party was working together with the three.

“What we can assure you is that we are working together in areas where we agree,” he said.

Skeptics have expressed doubts that the parties could seamlessly work together given their sharp ideological and operational differences.

These differences have been the major reasons for the failure of previous coalitions against the ruling party.

A demonstration of the ideological asymmetries between them is the current debate over their participation in by-elections.

The NCA and ZAPU are taking part in the by-elections while the MDC parties have boycotted the polls over what they call an uneven electoral field.

Another potentially contentious issue is that of who the parties would elect to head the coalition. Financial Gazette


  • comment-avatar
    Michael 7 years ago

    The comment about the negatives for not being able to work together are basically not impossible to overcome. The first issue as to leadership is clear – there should be an agenda developed as to a joint leadership of the Coalition – with a provisional leader (who should be the person with the most support on the ground) – supported by all other party leaders – who formed the Executive Committee of the coalition where decisions should be taken on a joint basis. That would eliminate the constant leadership battles encountered ever since Ncube tried to take over leadership from Tsvangirai in 2005.

    Once the country has been freed from the present dictatorship – a President should be elected through a general presidential selection and should then be regarded as the leader of the coalition. The President should be wise and ensure that other leaders with public support is incorporated into the top leadership pf the Coalition.

    As to participation or not in elections is not a policy issue – rather a strategy on how to overcome the usage of election fraud by Mugabe and his co-looters. It is not impossible to reach common ground on the above issue. The present situation is that elections will not remove the present dictatorship. The regime should be removed by massive public action – since elections will get members nowhere factions have decided that elections – being a fraudulent – will not allow for removal of the fraudsters.

  • comment-avatar
    Rwendo 7 years ago

    Two thoughts: Given the history of some of the characters involved, as well as the typical egos of competing political leaders in general, serious consideration should be given to identifying a neutral, acceptable care-taker leader, the priority goal for now being to return democracy to Zimbabwe’s electoral system. The fear by the participants is always that this person may decide to stay as leader thereafter.

    Secondly, any such coalition needs to have a clear game plan for the Mujuru faction which is most likely bidding its time, so as not to show its hand too soon, while planning to run in 2018. Ignoring it will allow ZANU PF to use its usual divide and rule strategies in resisting electoral reform before 2018.

    • comment-avatar

      What is the coalition agenda. What ideas or ideology the likes of Dabengwa and Makoni and Tsvangirai will persue. This could end up as one of the jokes of the year unless Dabengwa was a Rhodesian mole during the armed struggle.

  • comment-avatar
    Rwendo 7 years ago

    This person would be a respected, competent, apolitical, unifying figure – drawn from the world of clerics, academia or business.

  • comment-avatar

    My brother @Rwendo, you have enunciated what most right thinking Zimbos would like to see happen.

    The struggle against oppression by the whites was a long and arduous one. Whilst history might not repeat itself, we have to realistically factor in the possibility of the long haul against ZANU, in our struggle for eventual freedom.

    In that, we have to be steadfast in unity of purpose.
    Morgan has shown by deed, his commitment to the removal of ZANU and the rebuilding of Zim as evidenced by the ill conceived participation in the GNU with the short lived blip in economic revival.

    Surely, the Zimbo has now come to realize that who ever takes over from ZANU, is not going to be the deliverer of the “Land of milk and honey”.?