Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
FORMER Mashonaland West Zanu-PF provincial chairperson Mr Temba Mliswa has disqualified former Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru from leading the so-called grand coalition of opposition parties expected to stand against Zanu-PF in 2018 saying she does not have grassroots support. Opposition parties that have failed to beat Zanu-PF since the turn of the millennium are understood to be planning to form a coalition to challenge the ruling party in 2018. Mr Mliswa, who was expelled from Zanu-PF for belonging to the Mujuru cabal that sought to unconstitutionally remove President Mugabe from office, said all opposition parties should rally behind MDC-T leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
He made the remarks during a Press conference on Wednesday while announcing his plans to set-up a youth elections advocacy group that he claimed would be apolitical. Mr Mliswa ripped into Dr Mujuru and discredited the manifesto that she published last week, saying it had been recklessly done.
“To those who do not like the truth, if you are looking for a coalition outside Zanu-PF, you have no choice, but Morgan Tsvangirai is the leader because he has more seats in Parliament than you guys who are coming on stage. “So, do not hate me for saying that. A coalition is equally important, but what are the conditions? So, he is the biggest opposition. “He has more seats in Parliament. The issue is what are you bringing to the table? Morgan is bringing 22 seats and what are you bringing? Your name is not good enough because it has not been tried and tested. It is about institutions and not names. Which institution do you belong to?”
Mr Mliswa said Dr Mujuru and her team had the audacity to disregard and undermine other political parties. “I looked in the People First policy document where they say all political parties must be under them. As who? For what reasons and what are you bringing to the table? “That statement on its own is totally reckless. You cannot say all political parties must be under us because it belittles the parties that have been in the struggle for a long time,” he said.
Mr Mliswa said it was ideal for all political parties to go to the elections individually and then form a coalition after the polls based on how each would have fared.
However, other formations that are touted to be for the grand coalition dismissed Mr Mliswa’s claims. People First spokesperson, Mr Rugare Gumbo said it was premature for Mr Mliswa to dismiss other leaders. “We are consulting with Tsvangirai’s people, Tendai Biti’s people, Dumiso Dabengwa’s people and others because our position is that we are an inclusive organisation.
“As for the leadership of the coalition, that is an issue that we will discuss at the right time. It is the people who will decide,” said Mr Gumbo. The People’s Democratic Party spokesperson, Mr Jacob Mafume said while Mr Mliswa had his democratic right to personal views, it was premature for him to set the conditions.
“We need a grand coalition in order to transfer power from (President) Mugabe in particular. That strategy requires a bit more thought and nuance than screaming support for an individual. “As a former insider, we will gain more from him on the methods of dismantling Zanu-PF. This praise and worship strategy might be new to him but is certainly not novel. What has the number of MPs got to do with winning a future presidential election?” queried Mr Mafume.
MDC spokesperson Mr Kurauone Chihwayi was less diplomatic. “We do not take advice from over excited fools with a tainted past. The MDC subscribes to the idea of a coalition under the leadership of an agreed person. “We are a very powerful party, well lubricated to win future elections. We are a very organised and progressive party that does not take summer dreams and wild wishes seriously,” said Mr Chihwayi.