Tuesday, 19 April 2016

COALITION TALKS GATHER STEAM



COALITION talks aimed at bringing Zimbabwe’s various opposition parties under one banner ahead of the 2018 elections have reportedly gathered steam, with Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader Joice Mujuru and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai expected to come on stream later this month.

Sources privy to the development told NewsDay that Mujuru and Tsvangirai were initially sceptical of the coalition deal, hence, their delay in joining other opposition movements in sealing the deal.

Details of the meetings have been sketchy, with various party negotiators keeping a tight lid over the matter.

“There are meetings slated for later this month. Tsvangirai and Mujuru have indicated they will join the coalition talks. Things are looking good and the good part of it is that most opposition parties, especially those seen as ‘small’, have already agreed to work together,” a senior opposition party official, who spoke on condition of anonimity, said.

ZimPF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo said his party’s scepticism stemmed from lack of trust and ideological differences, but was quick to say there was scope to work together.

Asked if ZimPF’s refusal to be part of a joint Independence Day statement published yesterday was an indication by his party of its lack of trust with other parties, Gumbo retorted: “To some extent, yes, but, on the other hand, it indicates that there is a lot of work to be done because we are in the formative stages of such discussions.

“Some of the opposition parties have done things which do not fit with our vision, while others just want publicity with nothing tangible to show at the end of the day. We want concrete programmes of action that can give impetus to the democratic agenda.”

Mujuru and Tsvangirai, according to sources, had been wooed into the grand coalition by former Finance minister and Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Simba Makoni.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Makoni said: “Really, there is nothing much I can say other than that we are working hard to find common ground. As you have seen, we found common ground and issued a joint Independence statement. If there are any talks, you will see the results or we will tell the nation.”

MDC-T secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora also did not give much away in his response.

“We have not been approached and as a party we are working on our political programmes. This is not to say we are arrogant, if invited we will be willing to work with others to remove the dictatorship,” he said.

Mwonzora declined to comment on reports his party had given an undertaking to be part of the coalition talks later this month, insisting: “We have not been invited yet.”
A highly placed source recently revealed that the parties were holding talks, expressing optimism for a deal.

The source said talks were being held by the presidents, their deputies and secretary-generals of the respective parties.

Calls for a strong opposition coalition to face President Robert Mugabe in 2018 have been growing by the day amid reports political egos are holding back some opposition leaders from working together. newsday

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