Dark past of ZPF may hamper coalition- Think tank

Mlondolozi Ndlovu

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A respected Zimbabwean think tank, Zimbabwe Democracy Institute has heighted fears that lack of trust among the country opposition parties may hamper the success of the much hyped coalition.

The country opposition parties are currently in an attempt to unite to dislodge the increasingly failing Zanu PF government which has been in power for 36 years.

The closest attempts towards a coalition so far has been the National Electoral Reform Agenda, a platform which has united over 13 political parties in the country including the ZimPF led by former Vice President Joice Mujuru and the largest opposition party the MDC-T.

The Coalition for Democrats (CODE) which is led by the former SADC Executive secretary Simba Makoni is also another coalition attempt with 6 smaller political parties.

In a research titled Opposition cohesion, the missing link in authoritarian discohesion in Zimbabwe, ZDI said lack of trust among the political leaders was likely to be the stumbling block to parties in forging the coalition for the 2018 elections.

“Most opposition parties, if not all, emerge as a result of factionalism, lack of trust and elite discohesion within the opposition. This has been a recurring phenomenon in post independence opposition in Zimbabwe,” said the research.

The  analysis then traced the history of Zimbabwe’s main opposition political party the MDC-T and its offshoots, citing this long history of split will affect attempts by these parties to unite.

“For instance, the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai acrimoniously split in October 2005 resulting in the emergence of MDC led by Welshman Ncube. The MDC further split in 2014 resulting in the emergence of the Peoples’ Democratic Party led by Tendai Biti. The party further split leading to the formation of Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe led by Elton Mangoma,” they highlighted.

The research looked at the Zimbabwe People First and its history citing fears that the history of some of its members could affect the trust among the parties.

“ On the other hand, Zimbabwe People First led by Joice Mujuru is as a result of expulsions from Zanu PF.  In the current context, also at the heart of lack of trust is the historical baggage associated with opposition parties such as Zimbabwe People First. Emerging from Zanu PF officials mainly expelled during the 2014 congress, joining forces with such elements of the nationalist guard and with complicated and distrustful past may be deemed oxymoronic and sacrificing ideals, as Zanu PF has been at the center of allegations of human rights abuses, political violence, economic mismanagement and other heinous acts against the people of Zimbabwe,” said the Pedzisai Ruhanya led institute.

“Some of the officials associated with ZimPF allegedly committed callous crimes such as rape, for instance, the revelations that Agrippa Mutambara raped Judith Todd and the involvement of Didymus Mutasa in the abduction of Jestina Mukoko casts aspersions towards forging coalitions with such elements,” the added.

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