Organisers of the recently held coalition workshop for Zimbabwean opposition parties held in South Africa have come out guns blazing, accusing Zanu PF and some elements within the MDC Alliance of peddling malicious falsehoods regarding the indaba.
By Everson Mushava
Brian Kagoro, Thoko Matshe and Brian Raftopoulos said the indaba was a workshop to train opposition parties on how they can handle coalitions, drawing lessons from other African countries that have held successful electoral pacts.
“Several malicious and unfounded falsehoods have been deliberately peddled by the Zanu PF leadership and elements within the MDC Alliance regarding a workshop that we helped put together and facilitated in Cape Town on February 8 and 9,” a joint statement from the trio released yesterday read.
“The attempt to drag us into self-serving factional battles within the MDC Alliance is ill-conceived and regrettable. Zimbabwe is barely four months before a watershed post-coup election and it cannot afford the luxury of immature divisive smear politics.”
Opposition parties met in Cape Town last week for a coalition workshop, but were immediately accused by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, while addressing a rally in Guruve last week, of trying to work out a coalition against Zanu PF under the sponsorship of America.
The meeting was snubbed by some partners in the MDC Alliance, an electoral pact of seven political parties, who accused those who attended of working with the vanquished Zanu PF G40 faction and became a new political battlefield for the
But Kagoro, Matshe and Raftopoulos said: “The Cape Town meeting evolved out of a set of consultations that began in September 2017 in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
“One of the key motivations behind this particular meeting was the need to create a safe space for emerging Zimbabwean coalitions to learn from different African coalition building processes.
“The meeting was — from conception — never intended to be a negotiation platform between any political actors . . . whose objective is to explore how coalitions have worked or failed to work, exploring in particular lessons learnt from across Africa.”
They said contrary to “media sensation and the choreographed lies from some quarters”, MDC Alliance leaders, who include Welshman Ncube, Nelson Chamisa, Tendai Biti, Agrippa Mutambara and Jacob Ngarivhume, were invited and confirmed attendance, but dithered on the eve of the event.
“The principals of the existing three coalitions were all invited and confirmed their participation. Tickets were purchased and hotel reservations were made for them. Their written confirmations of attendance are available,” they said.
“The organisers regret the voluntary withdrawal of the five individuals and regret even more their patently false and defamatory statements regarding the organisation of the experience-sharing bookshop.”
They said G40 was never invited to the event and the concerted disinformation campaign mounted by the Zanu PF leadership and elements of the MDC Alliance only shows confluence of interests opposed to broad-based political dialogue and coalition building.