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Mujuru pulling a fast one on Tsvangirai

by Staff reporter
28 Jun 2017 at 05:58hrs | Views
In spite of inking a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai last month, signalling their intention to forge a grand coalition ahead of next year's polls, National People's Party (NPP) leader Joice Mujuru is pursuing a parallel initiative whereupon she is seeking to get into bed with the Coalition of Democrats (Code).

This has raised eyebrows within the MDC where it is being suspected that the NPP leader, who was fired from Zanu-PF in 2014 for planning to topple President Robert Mugabe, could be hoping to front Code and use that as a bargaining chip when she eventually sits down to discuss the leadership of the mooted grand coalition with Tsvangirai.

Code is made up of six opposition parties namely Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (led by Simba Makoni); Welshman Ncube's MDC; Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (led by Elton Mangoma); ZimFirst (headed by Maxwell Shumba); the Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment and the Zimbabweans United for Democracy.

Code's current chairperson and ZimFirst leader, Shumba, confirmed this week that NPP has lodged its application to join the alliance, which is being considered favourably.

He said: "Code has become the real driver towards true coalition. The Code secretaries-general are considering NPP's application and are set to join. The signing ceremony is on Friday. Code is a new platform for (the) coalition. Morgan's MoU is dead in (the) water".

Shumba seemed to suggest that Mujuru has lost interest in her MoU with Tsvangirai although this could not be corroborated by NPP officials.

What is, however, emerging is that the development has widened the rift between Tsvangirai and Mujuru, the two opposition leaders tipped to gun for the leadership of the coalition.

The duo has always appeared to be blossom buddies in public, while behind the scenes there is political skulduggery going on over the leadership of the coalition.

The Daily News has previously reported about the manoeuvres in the MDC to block Tsvangirai from leading the coalition amid suspicions that Mujuru could be working with the MDC leader's deputy, Thokozani Khupe, to have a woman in the race for the presidency.

Contacted for comment yesterday, NPP spokesperson  Methusile Moyo was evasive saying he wanted to first consult the powers-that-be.

In recent months, the former vice president has played second fiddle to Tsvangirai, who is widely seen as the opposition hope against Mugabe come elections in 2018.

Tsvangirai scored a symbolic victory last month when he managed to woo Mujuru to his private residence for the signing of the MoU that sets conditions for working towards a grand coalition pact.

There is a consensus among the country's political observers that an electoral pact that involves Tsvangirai and Mujuru stands a chance of ending Mugabe's 37-year rule.

Fitting smugly into the straitjacket philosophy - that is venerated by the country's influential military - Mujuru boasts of liberation war credentials that have thus far been Tsvangirai's Achilles heel, and is regarded as an alternative because of her historical ties and also links to key government departments.

Mujuru has been going around the country trying to set up structures following the fallout in the Zimbabwe People First, where she was interim leader, before branching out to form NPP.

And as she seeks to shore up her political stock, Mujuru is expected to address multiple rallies across the country with the hope of reaching out to the rural vote which has in the past rejected Tsvangirai.

During her recent visit to Bulawayo, she is said to have held meetings with Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa, as she sought to gain leverage during the coalition talks.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said there was no need to hurry the coalition, stating Tsvangirai was handling all coalition negotiations.

"At any rate, we don't negotiate in the media nor in public. We are still very hopeful that there will be a grand coalition to face Zanu-PF in next year's elections.

"A lot of things are happening behind the scenes and Zimbabweans should just be a little bit patient. In the Shona language, we say kumhanya handiko kusvika (Patience is a virtue)," said Gutu.

Political observer and Kent University law lecturer, Alex Magaisa, said it was crucial for Mujuru to accept Tsvangirai's popularity and work for and not against him.

"The political reality is that Tsvangirai remains the main opposition leader with the capacity to draw the largest numbers among his peers.

"They have already recognised this political reality and they should be working progressively towards coalescing around one candidate. With all due respect, . . . Mujuru's stock has fallen in the last six months.

"She had done very well so far to establish a cordial working relationship with Tsvangirai and should not be misled into thinking she must compete rather than work with him.

"They are stronger together but political realities are fundamental.

"This is not the time for delusions of grandeur and unnecessary posturing. It's time to acknowledge and work with political realities or the opposition is doomed," said Magaisa.

Source - dailynews
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