HARARE – Former Finance minister in the government of national unity Tendai Biti, who now leads the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has insisted that a coalition of opposition political parties ahead of next year’s elections is the only way to remove Zanu PF from power.
Biti said this last Thursday, while speaking as one of the panelists at Sapes Trust in Harare at a dialogue series titled: Zimbabwean Transition: Is 2017 A Decisive Year?
“Zimbabweans need to unite and remove through the ballot box the military authoritarianism State that has overseen the country’s politics since independence,” Biti said.
“Zimbabwe has been governed by a military machine since 1958, at independence, Zanu PF just replaced the (Ian) Smith military outfit with another which has never been demobilised,” Biti said.
Opposition political parties in Zimbabwe including the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC and ex-vice president Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First have been calling for a coalition to outwit president Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, which has been in power since the country gained its independence from the British colonisers in 1980.
Both Tsvangirai and Mujuru have since confirmed that they will work together in a coalition, which Biti claims is a necessity, considering that this has also worked in other African countries such at The Gambia and Kenya.
“Thought leadership would be the only hope for Zimbabwe to claw back and recapture the election. Political parties, social movements, civic society and labour, need to come together and continue the resistance of 2016, resistance must among other issues be for media and electoral reforms including the demand to exercise the right to vote by those in the Diaspora,” Biti said.
While opposition political parties say electoral reforms will level the electoral playing field, Zanu PF on the other hand says it cannot reform itself out of power.
“We need to do smart politics, uniting the Gambian style of December 2016 or the Kenyan way of 2002, just to confront and liquidate the dictator and maybe resort to our different agendas after the military regime has been replaced by a people-centred and transformation oriented leadership,” he said.
Biti said those involved in negotiating or participating in broad coalition of political parties must bear in mind that power sharing is not the agenda of the alliance.
He said the agenda is a vision for real transformation, which Zanu PF is afraid of, adding that a post-election National Transitional Authority would be a possible method of creating an inclusive mechanism that can deal with possibilities of chaos and implosion.