HARARE – Smaller opposition parties in Zimbabwe will announce the signing of a coalition agreement on Tuesday under the banner Coalition of Democrats CODE, The Zimbabwe Mail can reveal.
Former Finance minister Tendai Biti’s party PDP has finalised re-unification talks with other splinter faction of the original MDC, led by former industry minister Welshman Ncube.
They have joined hands with former Energy Minister and President of Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) Elton Mangoma, Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment (DARE) and Africa Democratic Party president, Marceline Chikasha.
On Tuesday the parties will announce their coming together in a coalition agreement ahead of the formation of a United Front (UP) party.
The coalition excludes Tsvangirai’s MDC, ZAPU, NCA, Mavambo and Mujuru’s ZimPF.
Biti is former Minister of Finance from 2009 to 2013. He was the Secretary-General of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-Tsvangirai) political party and a member of Parliament for Harare East until he was expelled from the party and recalled from parliament in mid-2014.
Ncube who was secretary-general of the MDC broke away in 2005 following a dispute on whether to participate in that year’s senatorial elections. According to former American Ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell, in the US leaked secrets by the whistle-blower Wikileaks, Ncube is a “genius, who is highly divisive and must be taken off the stage”.
Biti who took over as secretary-general after the departure of Ncube, followed in his predecessor’s footsteps early this year after a failed attempt to unseat Tsvangirai ostensibly to give the party a new impetus.
On the other hand, Mujuru’s ZimPF, Makoni and Dabengwa are former Zanu PF stalwarts who also broke away citing among other issues, a supposed dearth of leadership in President Robert Mugabe’s party.
Former Energy Minister Elton Mangoma leads also another smaller party Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe – a splinter group of the MDC Renewal Team party formed after he and Biti failed to oust Tsvangirai. At the time of leaving; Mangoma said he saw it fit to dissociate himself from former Biti’s group because Biti and others were allegedly courting a Zanu PF faction linked to former Vice President Joice Mujuru.
Not much is known about other smaller parties.
Political science lecturer Blessing Chitaka of the University of Zimbabwe says; the continuing fragmentation of the opposition increases the ruling Zanu PF party’s chances of winning in the next general elections.
Meanwhile People’s Democratic Party (PDP) secretary general Gorden Moyo says the large crowds pulled during last week’s “million man march” was testimony Zanu PF was not yet ready to surrender its scare tactics on innocent citizens many of whom were forced to attend the Harare rally.
He warned all opposition parties in the country to forge a strong alliance against what he termed Zanu PF’s military style tactics, to salvage the 2018 polls.
“While the display of numbers by Zanu PF can be read as self delusion and ego boasting, as opposition, we should take the Zanu PF march a dress rehearsal for 2018,” Moyo said.
Zanu PF drew crowds which many say were over a hundred thousand.
The march was organised by the Zanu PF youth wing to rally support around President Robert Mugabe, who is under pressure from a section of the party leadership to give up his job.
Mugabe, who will be 94 in 2018, still wants another term, much to the disappointment of fellow party politicians, among them Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who also want to taste the country’s most powerful job before they grow older.
Moyo told RadioVOP that instead of looking at the numbers pulled by Zanu PF and probably trying to surpass them, the opposition should be busy trying to stop their common rival from continuing with its strong arm tactics of rallying support among ordinary citizens.
The opposition blames Zanu PF’s continued rule on intimidation which has seen villagers being marshalled to polling stations and threatened for failure to vote for the party.
“Instead of just looking at the numbers we should look beyond to see the machinery that was at play to put together that show,” said the former State Enterprises minister.
“As PDP, we believe the march was a military operation. The same machinery will be used to commandeer the electorate to vote for Zanu PF.
“Hence the mechanism to vaccinate against electoral alchemy, electoral manipulation and electoral corruption should be our headache as the opposition.
“It is in this context that our party believes in working together with others particularly with former members of the receding regime. We need a lock nut to gain access to the strong room of Zanu PF electoral smithing.”
Moyo added: “This march is a strong reminder to the opposition political society including PDP, ZimPF and MDC-T that there is no time for luxury.
“Forging an altruistic coalition of serious actors is the best foot forward. It is the only way that can unmask the illusion of all those bodies of people who were physically there but were not spiritually there.”