HARARE – Former Industry and International Trade minister Nkosana Moyo announced yesterday that he will run for president in 2018, but his presidential bid has been met with whispers of disapproval, especially from civic society leaders who are concerned about the possibility of splitting the opposition vote.
Moyo, who was appointed in President Robert Mugabe’s Cabinet in July 2000 but resigned in May 2001 after publicly speaking out against attacks on businesses and factories by war veterans, claimed during a press briefing in Harare that the call for him to run for president came from members of “virtually all political formations.”
“I have concluded that the vehicle for my candidacy has to be a people’s movement. This is after all about the people’s agenda. Working with some of you, the vehicle that we have settled on is Alliance for the People’s Agenda,” he said, adding that he is offering himself as one of the best presidential options in next year’s elections, where he would stand as an independent candidate.
Moyo dispelled fears that he could divide the votes in the same way former Finance minister Simba Makoni did in 2008, where he garnered eight percent of the vote to deny MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai an outright win.
Moyo, who is against the idea of forming a coalition against Mugabe, said such an arrangement is not feasible.
“Combining things does not always give you the result that you expect,” he said, giving an example of mixing petrol and water.
The former World Bank’s International Finance Corporation staffer added: “We are offering a leadership option that all Zimbabweans will be proud to join. We are not therefore going to be part of a formation which is set out to be confrontational with any grouping of Zimbabweans. The only issue at stake is that of the appropriate leadership for the job that needs to be done at this point in the life of our nation.”
The former banker with Standard Chartered Bank said it is time for Mugabe to relinquish power.
“Personally I believe President Mugabe has run his leg of the relay and I think we need to respect him for that, we need to respect him for the contribution he has made, but we actually need to persuade him to understand that there comes a time when a disciplined participant in a relay has to hand over the baton to the next runner, in order for the total team to succeed,” he said.
“There’s a whole generation of young people who have not known anything other than this abnormal situation.”
Civil rights activist, Gladys Hlatywayo, said while it was well within Moyo’s democratic rights to run for president, she was not too sure whether that was a strategic position to take given the magnitude of challenges Zimbabweans face in their quest to dislodge the 37 year rule of Mugabe.
“It leaves me to question in whose interest is his candidature. At a time efforts are being made for a coalition, one would have thought he was going to work with the current opposition players. It’s more strategic to have one opposition presidential candidate in the 2018 election in-order not to split the vote,” she said.
Reacting to Moyo’s presidential bid yesterday, Zanu PF said the 65-year-old economist who is the executive chairman and founder of the Mandela Institute for Development Studies, stands no chance against Mugabe at next year’s polls.
“…He must consider himself a very lucky man by all accounts if gets 500 votes and that’s because unlike President Mugabe’s candidature, his isn’t based on any sound policy or any thought-out plan and much less any tangible support base. It is based merely and purely on social media. And in Zimbabwean politics, as he will soon enough find out, that is a suicidal thing to do,” said Psychology Maziwisa, the former Zanu PF director of information and now legislator for Highfield West.
Jacob Mafume of the People’s Democratic Party said it would appear that the silly season of Zimbabwean politics is upon the country.
“The issue is that the main political parties are taking too long to form a coalition leaving gaps that can be exploited. The issue is not to pursue ideology but to create a platform to remove Mugabe,” he said.
MDC spokesman, Obert Gutu, said their party was a social democratic political party that believes in multi-party democracy.
He said the MDC’s real political adversary remains Zanu PF and are not at all concerned by Moyo’s candidacy.
“We are a seasoned political party with massive grassroots support and tried and tested policies and programmes. Our record during the inclusive government clearly proved that we have got what it takes to deliver Zimbabwe to the next level,” said Gutu.
“Politics is a game of numbers and strategies. In a free and fair election, no other political party in Zimbabwe can beat us. We are the real dealt he only game in town,” added Gutu.