OPPOSITION parties yesterday said they were finally finding each other
and moving fast towards forming a coalition ahead of the 2018 general
elections in order to defeat President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF in
the watershed poll.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president, Tendai Biti said facts on the ground demanded that all opposition parties should come together and form a coalition if they were to stand a chance against Zanu PF.
“It’s not so much what we may think as individual political parties, it’s the reality. The reality is we have to come together, the reality is we have to form a coalition or at the very minimal have an alliance before 2018,” he said.
“In my view, there are two things that are essential if we are to have a chance in 2018. The first is we have to reorganise and come together, we have to do what logic demands that we do. Secondly, there must be electoral reforms.”
Biti’s remarks came hot on the heels of a statement released by MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu, saying a divided and cash-strapped opposition would not stand a chance against Zanu PF.
“A splintered, weak and poorly-funded opposition will face a mammoth task in elections in 2018. Unity is a prerequisite for electoral success,” he said.
Eight parties – MDC-T, PDP, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn, MDC, Zunde, Zapu, Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe and Dare – came together to issue a statement in support of peaceful demonstrations against Mugabe’s rule, which they say have been ruthlessly crushed by police.
Makoni said the coming-together of the political parties to issue the statement showed their willingness to move towards a coalition, which they believe is the answer to unseating Mugabe.
“There is a group of political parties that works together under the New Electoral Reform Agenda and another group that works together under the Coalition of Democrats (Code). We continue to consult and exchange notes with the ultimate objective that we come together in a strong coalition. We are not there yet, we aspire to the get there, we strive to get there at the appropriate opportunity,” he said.
MDC-T vice-president, Elias Mudzuri said his party was alive to the need for a coalition and was converging with other democratic forces including civil society to bring down Zanu PF.
Opposition forces are failing to get funding, with the MDC-T accusing Zanu PF of blocking Treasury from releasing funds meant for qualifying parties under the Political Parties (Finance) Act.
The MDC-T said elections in 2018 should be fought on a very well-resourced framework, if opposition political parties are to successfully wrest power from Zanu PF.
“Zanu PF is abusing its position as the ruling party to ensure that other competing political parties are starved of financial resources. This is the main reason why Treasury is dragging its feet when it comes to the issue of disbursing money owed to parties such as the MDC in terms of the Political Parties (Finance) Act,” Gutu said.
The Press conference was attended by top representatives from eight political parties, but snubbed by Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF).
But Makoni played down ZimPF’s absence.
“They failed to come here today. They are not being left out, but in due time they will be with us, but they certainly share the same views with us here,” he said.
Gutu, in his statement, said, while Zanu PF was facing internal problems, the opposition should not write the ruling party off, as it would regroup just ahead of elections and win if votes were divided.
“Zanu PF has this uncanny ability of regrouping when they are cornered. Election 2018 isn’t going to be a stroll in the park,” he said. newsday