HARARE – Outspoken secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Raymond Majongwe, has urged opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to dump the mooted grand coalition — saying many of his would-be partners do not add any value to his bid to oust President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF from power in next year’s national elections.
This comes as Tsvangirai has hailed the progress that has been made by the opposition this far, towards the finalisation of talks to form the planned electoral alliance ahead of 2018.
The MDC president has already signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with former vice president Joice Mujuru and his once secretary-general, Welshman Ncube.
“Tsvangirai must know that these one-man political parties that are calling for a coalition with him are not only insincere, as the majority of them are Zanu PF projects, but will also not add any value because they have no supporters.
“The mooted coalition must not be like a bowl of salads in which all vegetables have a place.
“The MDC must realise that its strength is in the people and they must concentrate on mobilising their people and all the groups that have been with them since their formation, and identify with them, not some structures which they did not form,” Majongwe told the Daily News.
“There are some hard lessons for the MDC to learn, especially after the (Pearson) Mbalekwa fiasco where he suddenly turned up for Zanu PF primary elections when he has been Tsvangirai’s chief security aide.
“The party must listen to people who tell them the truth because they are genuine. However, you will find that they will label me Zanu PF because they want me to tell them that even if you do nothing you will win against Zanu PF.
“No, I will not say that because I mean what I say and I am genuine,” he added.
Majongwe has recently been criticised in the pro-democracy movement after he warned that Mugabe would win next year’s elections if the opposition did not put its house in order.
But analysts believe that only a grand coalition stands a better chance to beat Mugabe come next year.
Oxford scholar, Phillan Zamchiya, said yesterday that the political indicators on the ground justified the need for an alliance.
“First, Tsvangirai’s vote has been constant in the past three presidential elections. He has been getting around a million votes in all the three elections.
“In 2002, 2008 and 2013 Tsvangirai had 1 258 401, 1 195 562 and 1 172 349 votes respectively. This signifies the need to think outside the box in order to grow the vote.
“The MDC also has some political deficiencies which require other actors to augment. For example, it lacks liberation war credentials and is viewed as a party without a history by its opponents,” Zamchiya said in a Facebook post.
Tsvangirai has for the past few months been working feverishly behind the scenes with Mujuru and other smaller opposition leaders to finalise the grand coalition.
Analysts have also repeatedly said Mujuru, whose liberation struggle nom de guerre was Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood), and whose husband Solomon was the first black post-independence army commander, could provide the much-needed bridge that opposition parties have been missing to ensure the smooth transfer of power if they win elections again.
They have also warned that without a broad coalition involving all the major opposition players, Zanu PF would use “its usual thuggish and foul methods” to retain power in 2018.