CONFUSION within the rank and file of Zimbabwe’s opposition reigns with the Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) party co-led by former Cabinet ministers Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa now saying it is yet to make a decision on who will lead a proposed coalition.
Mutasa last month told a National Elections Reform Agenda (Nera) gathering in Harare that MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was a natural choice to lead the coalition.
“For me, Tsvangirai is the natural leader of the coalition because of who he is … What Nera is today stands for what Tsvangirai and the MDC built. The rest of us are latecomers in this game,” Mutasa told the rally.
However, ZimPF co-chairperson and former Zanu PF spokesperson Gumbo said Mutasa was quoted out of context.
“It unfortunate and wrong to say ZimPF endorsed Tsvangirai as the leader of the coalition, what he said was that it would appear that Tsvangirai has the upper hand at the moment and given the support on the ground to be the leader of the coalition.
There is no clear leader of the coalition at the moment, there are a number of variables that need to be considered before we arrive at the leader of the coalition and this is an important decision which we don’t want to take a chance with,” Gumbo said..
National People’s Party leader Joice Mujuru last week, announced at a rally in Masvingo that she had inked a deal with Tsvangirai on the proposed coalition, but was forced into withdrawing the statements after the MDC-T leader denied a deal had been struck.
Gumbo said his party was working on a strategy and plans to be made public once completed. With his party still struggling to find a political figurehead to lead it since the acrimonious fall-out with Mujuru, Gumbo said his party would take its time.
“We will not be forced into coming up with a leader, we will announce the leader at the appropriate time,” he said.
However, MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said Tsvangirai was unfazed by the latest statements from ZimPF.
“President Tsvangirai is not bothered at all. He is a people person and doesn’t have to be endorsed by any particular person to be leader of the coalition.
“Everyone in Zimbabwe knows that Tsvangirai is the most popular politician in the country. The MDC remains focused and we continue to strenuously and vigorously fight for the adoption of electoral reforms. Reforms are key in ensuring that next year’s plebiscite is free and fair,” Gutu said.
Tsvangirai has put in place a litany of demands that would-be coalition partners have to abide by.
President Robert Mugabe recently scoffed at the envisaged coalition describing it as a conglomeration of losers.