By Daniel Chigundu
TRANSFORM Zimbabwe (TZ) President Jacob Ngarivhume says his party will not be joining the Coalition of Democrats (CODE) but will instead seek a political alliance with MDC-T.
Opposition parties in the country are reportedly mauling forming a grand coalition as they seek to unseat President Robert Mugabe in the impending 2018 general elections.
About nine opposition parties have already agreed to a coalition under the banner of CODE and they have sent invitation letters to other parties that include MDC-T, Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) and Jacob Ngarivhume’s TZ.
However, in an interview, Ngarivhume acknowledged receiving the invite from CODE but said his party’s executives are against the idea and would rather work with Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T.
“Yes, we were invited to CODE just like we were invited to other coalition processes. The TZ National Executive met in December 2016 and deliberated on all options and choices available. It was felt by the leadership that the best option was to enter into an electoral alliance with among other players MDCT. This we felt is the best thing we can do for the nation and the people of Zimbabwe before 2018.
“We believe as TZ that coalition is the best way to go under the situation we have in Zimbabwe. More importantly, the people of Zimbabwe feel that way and this is the reality on the ground. What Zimbabwe need now is a strong electoral alliance that can topple Mugabe in 2018,” he said.
Speaking earlier this year, one of the opposition leaders in CODE Farai Mbira said invitations to join the coalition will remain open to any interested political party, but they will not beg anyone to join.
Seasoned trade unionist and politician Morgan Tsvangirai spent the greater part of the month of February consulting his party structures with regards to joining the coalition and is believed to have received mixed reactions.
It is widely believed that most opposition parties are under pressure from their funders to join a coalition as there is strong belief that only a coalition can unseat the 93-year-old Mugabe who has been President since 1980.
Meanwhile, Ngarivhume has revealed that the current electoral environment in the country is oppressive to opposition parties and that they will never tire to fight for reforms before the 2018 elections are hosted.
“We never expected reforms to come on a silver platter! We always understood that reforms have to be fought for rather. So we are fighting for electoral reforms and we will make sure that we have reforms before 2018. That is our commitment to the Zimbabwean people and we will deliver on that.
“The current electoral environment is what the regime has built over the years to consolidate and keep power. They have repressed the citizens through the current electoral environment. That’s why one of our main electoral reforms has been the new voters roll for example.
“This is motivated by the need to level a very skewed electoral field. We believe that to make our democracy possible we first must win this battle. And our resolve is unshakable. Victory is certain,” Ngarivhume said.
Opposition parties are fighting for electoral reforms under the banner of National Electoral Reforms Agenda (NERA) and they have held several demonstrations demanding the changes.
Just recently, NERA has called for the ouster of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Rita Makarau arguing that she is highly compromised and is pro-Zanu PF.