HARARE – Leader of the newly-formed coalition — People’s Rainbow Alliance (PRA) — Joice Mujuru has insisted they will only join forces with the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC Alliance after it adopts a neutral name, among other conditions.
Mujuru, who also leads the opposition National People’s Party (NPP), argues that the name MDC Alliance is derived from Tsvangirai’s MDC, which almost represents his party’s interests and is exclusionary.
This comes as opposition political parties are on record claiming that a grand coalition is the only way to win against long-ruling President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF in 2018’s election.
Though the opposition parties remain positive that they will eventually find one another, three distinct groups have so far emerged in the run-up to next year’s elections.
As it stands, Mujuru was over the weekend chosen to lead PRA, while on the other hand, MDC’s Tsvangirai is leading the MDC Alliance and Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) leader Elton Mangoma is leading the Coalition for Democrats (Code).
Asked about the new development, Mujuru’s spokesperson, Gift Nyandoro, said his principal’s nomination to lead the PRA does not mean that they are not going to be working with other like-minded political parties, but emphasised the need for neutrality, even in names.
“What is clear from yesterday’s (Saturday) launch is a testament of what a coalition should be. This is a coalition with one goal, one logo and a neutral name.
“This, however, does not become an exclusion not to work with others. That does not stop us from engaging with others,” Nyandoro said.
Queried how they were going to coalesce in light of three different coalitions with distinct leaders having emerged, he said when the time comes, they will select a leader through a consensus and democratic means.
“If you see some of the aspirations set as a matter of public record, Mujuru has been selected through consensus.
“Where consensus fails, parties’ representatives will be involved. In our view, it won’t be a problem, there will be a selection of the members through party organs.
“We want this to have legitimacy. The selection of Mujuru or Tsvangirai to the leadership position is agreed through a consensus. But in the absence of that consensus, let’s show the people we are democratic. The ultimate goal is to fight the dynasty,” he said.
PRA members are on record against the use of the name MDC Alliance as the name of the coalition.
They argue that the name of the coalition must be neutral and not refer to any party which is a player in the coalition, amid indications by MDC, which is the biggest opposition party in Zimbabwe that the name will not be changed.
This has resulted in the mooted grand coalition suffering major setbacks with clearly less than 12 months to go to the next elections. The coalition has been wobbling, with no distinct conclusion having been made, creating chances that it might not come to fruition in time.
While some of the misunderstandings are emanating from a party level, the squabbling is also being escalated to inter-party with differences around the allocation of seats and the name of the alliance taking centre stage.
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said they were also willing to work with other democratic forces willing to end a “Mugabe dynasty”.
“We are on record and willing to work with all patriotic Zimbabweans, who want to see the death of the Mugabe dynasty, who have reduced everything to a fiefdom.
“We are willing to work with everyone in the big tent. We don’t look at the people’s race, ethnicity or colour. As long as one is a patriotic Zimbabwean willing to work hard on our shuttered economy, we are willing to work with them.
“This is what we have always been saying, we don’t discuss in public. In the domain of company law there is something called measures and acquisition.
“You only hear on the day of acquisition that such and such a company has acquired something. This is exactly what happens in politics,” Gutu said.