Zimbabwe’s five opposition political parties including three splinter Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) factions are expected to sign a coalition pact this weekend to contest the 2018 elections as a single entity.
Following unsuccessful separate attempts in 2008 and 2013 to unseat Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party, opposition parties believe only a united approach can achieve that.
The alliance is already marred by scuffles, with some analysts saying it could backfire on the opposition.
The 56-year old Morgan Tsvangirai, whose MDC is one of the main opposition parties uniting, wants to run again but is facing challenges from others in the alliance and he has already lost three elections.
“The political reality in Zimbabwe is that no single political party can take Mugabe head on now unlike any other time before because when you are looking at Zanu-PF and president Mugabe they are the people who have a backing of the state.”
“The opposition doesn’t have such, so you would rather have a coalition of opposition groups grouping together forming a one front; it may change the political terrain.”
It’s been almost 12 years since Zimbabwe’s main opposition party split. The first split was after the 2005 Senate election.
MDC-T split further in 2014 after the party lost heavily in the 2013 general election.
For the second time Morgan Tsvangirai and the party’s secretary general Tendai Biti parted ways.
Now the four splinter groups have agreed to work together.
Political analyst, Pedzisai Ruhanya says:”If you look at 2008 the opposition was weak in the sense that there was rapture or there was a fall out within the MDC but we had an election under a very serious economic environment under very serious infighting within Zanu-PF that led to the opposition winning parliamentary elections and all urban municipalities.”
Although Tsvangirai signed a deal with the leader of the National People’s Party leader, Joyce Mujuru in June, she will not be at the grand signing ceremony.
The two have reportedly disagreed on the presidency and allocation of parliamentary seats ahead of next year’s elections.
Meanwhile, 93-year old Mugabe, who is seeking an eighth and final term, has already begun campaigning, meeting the youths in the country’s 10 provinces.
He has so far addressed five Zanu-PF rallies.
Political analyst, Alexander Rusero says:”The linear approach that the opposition is taking is not sustainable going forward, they need to go to the people the coalition should come from the grassroots, right now the coalition has remained elitist where it is always happening in the comfort zones of hotels.”
It remains to be seen whether the opposition coalition will be able to withstand the pressures and unseat Mugabe or whether the veteran leader will score another sweet victory against his opponents.
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– By Nundu Sithole