By Watmore Makokoba
The convergence of opposition parties towards bolstering prospects of political change in the 2018 elections was seen as a noble idea; however, the move has brought more internal skirmishes and further splits than the expected unity.
According to a poll survey by the Afro-barometer, 45 percent of Zimbabweans support an opposition coalition; however, there are still many sticking points which are threatening the effectiveness of the so-called coalitions.
Foremost, the existence of more than one proposed coalitions on its own raises more questions than answers.
Before the MDC Alliance, there already existed another union the Coalition of Democrats (CODE), where parties such as PDP were already signed members.
One coalition supporter from Harare James Kuzeya said he feels, “worried about this fragmentation within the opposition,” adding that “egocentrism is derailing progress”
After officially signing to CODE, PDP leader Tendai Biti gave a trailblazing Martin Luther style speech that could convince even a layman in the streets that the days of political change and the dawn of freedom was highly nigh.
On the day Biti vowed that CODE was the best coalition ever formed and that it was the last blow to Zanu PF and went on to urge other parties particularly MDC-T to join.
“None of us is bigger than the other, none of us has got an ego and all of us are coming here with the fundamental responsibility and obligation that we have to build a new Zimbabwe.
“This is not a coalition that is in competition with any other political party and is not going to beg anyone because there is no Zimbabwean better than the other.
“So we are going to work very hard to make sure that we give Zanu PF a run for its money to make sure that the leadership of CODE takes over the leadership of this country and I have no doubt that we are going to do that,” said Biti.
While PDP party members were still familiarizing themselves with the new dispensation, Biti jumps ship to reunite with MDC-T and allegedly threatened to go alone if the party was not happy with the idea.
Following his defection, Biti was sacked for defying the part’s constitution together with his accomplices replacing him with Lucia Matibenga as the new party President.
The formation of the MDC Alliance, in fact, brought unprecedented woes to both the MDC-T and PDP, as just a few hours after the official launch, MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe who was absent on the event was attacked by suspected party thugs accusing her of going against Tsvangirai’s move.
The rift in the MDC-T widened to an extent that an urgent meeting had to be called on to try and iron out differences with Khupe who is seen as the Queen-of the-South in an effort to bury the hatchet.
Marian Mbewe who is an MDC-T supporter based in Bulawayo said labelling genuine expression of concern as tribal is what has derailed unity of purpose in the party.
“Let the parties split to smithereens if these people believe that if someone from Matabeleland does not agree with you it’s tribal,” she said.
Khupe and team complained that although they were not against the idea of a coalition, it was a bit dictatorial and divisive to make that decision without consulting as is required by the party constitution.
On the other side, former Vice President Joyce Mujuru stands isolated in the middle of the storm, despite signing an MOU with Tsvangirai to work together ahead of the impending 2018 general elections.
However, Mujuru saw her party the Zimbabwe People First splitting over the issues of control of the party funds and this resulted in the former VP forming another outfit branded as National People’s Party (NPP).
Mujuru’s former party members in the Zimbabwe People First have since joined the MDC Alliance with the guidance of Agrippa Mutambara.
As the cookie crumbles, surely Zanu PF must be celebrating as efforts to converge seem to be bringing more woes and further splits in the opposition camp than anything else.