MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai has almost tied down a deal for a possible coalition that is likely to present a single presidential candidate against veteran Zanu PF leader, President Robert Mugabe, in elections expected next year.
The former Prime Minister told South African television station ANN7’s Africa Tonight programme early this week that the envisaged coalition was likely to include former Zanu PF Vice-President and now leader of Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), Joice Mujuru.
“Just wait until the election coalition or alliance is unveiled. We are busy looking at every aspect and one of the critical things is that we have a plan that we need to change the culture that Zanu PF introduced for the last four decades or so,” he said.
Coalition talks have hogged the limelight in Zimbabwe’s political landscape, with a Tsvangirai and Mujuru pact expected to present the greatest threat to Mugabe’s hold on power.
Mujuru was unceremoniously expelled from Zanu PF at the tail-end of 2014 for allegedly plotting to oust Mugabe, including a sinister assassination plot that she has vehemently denied.
Tsvangirai said the coalition would need to instil a new political culture in Zimbabwe after decades of violence, particularly during election periods.
“We need an institutional transformation agenda that is going to change the way we do things. The policies we put must attract international confidence, which is what we are looking at.
“We have to restore the freedoms of Zimbabweans, no more disappearance of Zimbabweans, no more brutalising by the police just because people have expressed themselves. I think these are rights that Zimbabweans must enjoy,” he said.
Tsvangirai has lost three successive presidential bids against Mugabe, but alleges electoral fraud and violence against his supporters.
The MDC-T leader said while talks continue, the opposition groups in Zimbabwe would focus their energies on ensuring electoral reforms are implemented ahead of the crunch polls.
“One of the focuses for 2017 would be to push for electoral reforms. It is going to be our rallying cry because we believe that if we go and have an election under the same conditions, the outcome would be a miscarriage of democracy and the will of the people,” Tsvangirai said.
The MDC-T leader defended his long stay as opposition leader, saying he still enjoyed the support of his party and he had not yet achieved the main agenda of the struggle.
He drew parallels with South Africa’s ruling party, African National Congress struggle stalwarts, Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela, who continued in leadership up to the time South Africa was freed from the shackles of apartheid.
Tsvangirai, who drew fire after appointing two more vice-presidents in the MDC-T after being diagnosed with cancer of the colon last year, denied that he was grooming Nelson Chamisa, as his successor, arguing “it would be undemocratic”.
Chamisa was appointed along with Elias Mudzuri to join Thokozani Khupe, as deputy presidents, with insiders claiming this was meant to deal with internal factional fights.