A GRAND opposition coalition could be announced “soon”, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai revealed Saturday, adding that Zimbabweans “are on the brink of an exciting political moment”.
However, other opposition stalwarts and former colleagues in the MDC, Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti, have emphatically ruled out working with Tsvangirai who already has some relationship with the likes of Simba Makoni of Mavambo Kusile.
An alliance with Lovemore Madhuku’s NCA which was routed by Zanu PF in this month’s by-elections hardly deserves billing as “exciting political moment”, suggesting the MDC-T leader was referring to the group recently kicked out of the ruling party.
In his so-called state of the nation address Saturday, Tsvangirai all but confirmed speculation that he has been in negotiations with a loose group of former Zanu PF stalwarts led by ex-vice-president Joice Mujuru.
Mujuru and several cabinet ministers as well as senior party officials were recently expelled from Zanu PF, charged with plotting to either oust or assassinate the party’s 91-year-old leader who refuses to retire.
“There has been convergence around the issue of non-participation (in elections without reforms) from most players in the opposition party circles, including even those who only a few months ago were in the top echelons of Zanu PF.
“They have come out in the open to laud our decision not to legitimize this charade masquerading as legitimate elections,” said Tsvangirai.
“That convergence means that for once, the majority of Zimbabweans are united on the one key issue which is to ensure that the next election is not only truly free, fair but credible as well.
“We must begin to address, once and for all, the contentious issue of a disputed legitimacy which is the root cause of our current national crisis”.
Western envoys in Harare recently told NewZimbabwe.com that they were nudging Tsvangirai towards an alliance with the Mujuru group.
Donors were also reportedly threatening to cut or reduce support if the MDC-T leader refused to oblige.
On Saturday, the former Prime Minister declared:
“I want to tell Zimbabweans today, that our convergence on non-participation must mean that there are exciting political prospects on the horizon.
“I, as Morgan Tsvangirai and the party I lead, am prepared to work with Zimbabweans of all shades and political colours to bring the country back to sanity,” the veteran trade unionist said to rapturous applause.
He added; “I see the true grand coalition not as the unity of individuals or leaders of political parties, but as the unity of Zimbabweans who possess shared values and convergence on the patriotic goal to take our country forward.
“Today, I promise Zimbabweans that we are on the brink of an exciting political moment and they will be see us, as political leaders, converging on those issues that matter most to us all Zimbabweans.”
There has been talk of a grand coalition by opposition parties that analysts contend has been held back by “egos” within the country’s pro-democracy movement.
However, there has been renewed hope since the brutal purges in the ruling Zanu PF party claimed the scalps of senior members of the former liberation movement who have since indicated that they might be ready to oppose President Robert Mugabe’s 35 year-rule.
Tsvangirai also revealed that the stalled “Prayer Meeting” for missing journalist-cum-democracy activist Itai Dzamara will be held next month, indicating various other opposition leaders would also attend.
“It is on this score that I can tell you here that on the 11th of July in Harare, I will be joining other Zimbabweans from various political backgrounds at a prayer meeting for Itai Dzamara which is being organized by the church,” he said.
While admitting that his party has been at the receiving end of most of the political violence in the last decade and half the former Prime Minister warned things might change.
“We in the MDC committed ourselves in 1999 to changing our government democratically, within the law and without violence,” he said.
“We have stuck to those principles and we have neither beaten one policeman nor broken a single window in the past 16 years while we ourselves have been beaten, abducted and killed.
“I am not sure whether we can maintain that stance into the future.”
He added: “One thing is for sure, the present situation is untenable and unacceptable and perhaps the time has come for us to take matters into our own hands and force the changes that are needed.”