Back in 2008, Zimbabwe’s MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the first round of the 2008 presidential election. However, he withdrew amid Mugabe’s Zanu-PF supporters unleashing a wave of violence. Then, during the next election in 2013, the MDC leader suffered a defeat as divisions grew in his own party. Amid allegations of vote rigging, Zimbabwe is an especially tough environment to operate in. But Tsvangirai, who has also recently become a cancer sufferer, appears to be putting together his last attempt at breaking Zanu-PF’s hold. With Mugabe well into his 90s, Zimbabweans are starting to look ahead to a future without him. The only question is, can a divided opposition in that country come to its rescue. – Gareth van Zyl
By Godfrey Marawanyika and Brian Latham
Bloomberg – Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed agreements with former Vice President Joice Mujuru and a breakaway faction of his own party to form a coalition to challenge President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party in 2018 general elections in the southern African nation.
On Wednesday Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change, agreed with Mujuru, a former deputy to Mugabe who heads the National People’s Party, to set up an alliance. A day later he signed an accord to re-unite with an MDC faction led by Welshman Ncube.
“We owe it to future generations, we owe it to ourselves, to do everything we can to make sure that come 2018, we won’t fail,” Ncube told reporters in the capital, Harare.
The announcement marks the opposition’s boldest bid yet to sway voters with a united front at a time of deepening unrest because of widespread poverty, joblessness and the collapse of basic services. Within Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, a power struggle to succeed him pits a faction backing his wife Grace against another supporting Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former spy chief.
“This alliance is a breakthrough because both are significant opposition parties and until recently the MDC didn’t really want an alliance with anyone,” Dirk Kotze, a political science professor at the University of South Africa in Pretoria, said Thursday by phone.