Despite having 5 political parties listed under Zimbabwe’s first political coalition , Coalition of Democrats (CODE) only one principal member whose credentials are shrouded with controversy as his claim to leadership is being disputed showed up at their launch held over the weekend. With no clear membership except of course that of Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) party led by the Coalition’s president Elton Mangoma , one is left to wonder whether CODE has become a one party coalition.
CODE’s launch turned out to be a huge flop after a little over a hundred people from the said five member parties making up the coalition, namely ZAPU led by Dumiso Dabengwa, Mavambo/Khusile/Dawn led by Simba Makoni, African Democratic Party led by Marceline Chikasha , the ZimFirst splinter led by Derrick Lupemba as well as Mangoma’s RDZ showed up at the Freedom square. This was despite efforts to bus people from Chitungwiza , Epworth , Makoni , Mufakose amongst other areas.
The launch added weight to claims that most of the said party members had pulled out of the coalition , with Simba Makoni being represented by a member of his party and no offered explanation to why the principals were displaying discord a few months to the elections.
A few hours after the launch , founding president of the Zimbabwe First Party also known as ZimFirst issued a statement questioning why CODE had allowed to represent the party when ZimFirst was no longer a member of CODE nor Lupemba a member of ZimFirst.
“ZimFirst Party is concerned with the reports that he has been approaching unsuspecting people seeking financial help using our party’s name, making claims that he is some Interim President of ZimFirst and claiming that ZimFirst is still a member of CODE. He is a fraud and those claims and the press statements he is issuing are both bogus and contemptuous…
“On CODE membership, we further reiterate the ZimFirst position that has been previously widely published in the media that ZimFirst party officially left CODE on March 3, 2018 and accordingly ZimFirst was not party to the April 14, 2018 CODE launch. For the record, Dr. Maxwell Zeb Shumba will be the Presidential Candidate in the 2018 elections and the party is looking forward to a very competitive race as we are confident that he will be the best candidate on the ballot,” read a statement issued out by party National Spokesperson , Pamela Nyabadza .
On the contrary Lupemba is also sending out conflicting messages stating that Dr Shumba was suspended after being found guilty of wilfully violating party constitution and has therefore no right to speak on behalf of the party.
“We clarify that ZimFirst is a member of CODE and nothing has changed …ZimFirst is not fielding a Presidential candidate for the 2018 elections but will support any CODE candidate that is nominted and agreed to by all member in the coalition.”
CODE has refused to join the MDC alliance unless a string of conditions are met https://openparly.co.zw/2018/04/14/reduce-presidential-powers-end-dictatorship-then-we-join-alliance-mangoma/
With a handful of supporters , a disorganised and uncommitted member force , the coalition is just about another number on Zimbabwe’s long list of parties fielding presidential candidates in the upcoming elections.