ZIMBABWE – HARARE – Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and former Vice President Joice Mujuru have come closer to forging an alliance to oust the post-congress Zanu PF from power after the People First movement signed the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) document that agitates for crucial electoral reforms before the next national elections are held in the country.
A top cleric who is leading the process to unite the splintered opposition in their demands for a raft of electoral reforms ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 elections, Bishop Ancelimo Magaya, told the media in Harare yesterday that Mujuru’s People First movement had finally signed the document which at least 10 other opposition parties, including the MDC, have already inked.
“Yes, I can confirm that People First signed the Nera document on Tuesday through Didymus Mutasa,” Magaya said yesterday, a development that Mutasa himself also confirmed.
“Yes, I signed the document. We are prepared to take the necessary steps to create a conducive electoral environment in the country,” Mutasa told the Daily News.
Well-placed sources inside both the MDC and People First said their signing of the document set in motion the process of the two outfits eventually coming together in a long-mooted electoral pact between Tsvangirai and Mujuru — despite concerted efforts by President Robert Mugabe and the post-congress Zanu PF to torpedo such a deal before it happens.
Magaya said it was the church’s responsibility to take part “in an agenda that will see Zimbabwe united”, adding that discussions had also taken place with various civil society organisations.
“We have talked to a number of different political parties. I have been to the offices of the People’s Democratic Party and those for the Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe.
“The whole idea behind this effort is to make sure that Zimbabweans put aside their small differences and start to concentrate on the bigger picture,” Magaya said.
The cleric also revealed that the parties to the signed agreement would meet tomorrow for a national convergence gathering dubbed the Zimbabwe National Agreement Platform, where Zimbabweans from across society are expected to come together “to discuss the situation which is affecting our country”.
He added that the meeting, which would take place at the City Sports Centre in Harare, would treat all parties in attendance as equals.
Since Mujuru launched her Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development manifesto, which received widespread approval, the widow of the late liberation struggle icon, Solomon Mujuru, has come under heavy political attack from her former comrades in the post-congress Zanu PF.
Tsvangirai has also accused the ruling party of trying to throw spanners in the works and scuttle the mooted alliance between him and the former VP, allegedly including using some elements in the MDC to do that.
With the post-congress Zanu PF consumed by vicious factional and succession wars pitting Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa on one hand and the ruling party’s ambitious Young Turks known as the Generation 40 on the other, the opposition is confident that it is only a matter of time before the ruling party is turfed out of power — particularly given that the economy is also in free-fall.
The Daily News has previously reported that Tsvangirai and Mujuru have been talking through emissaries over the past few months, to explore how they can work together to challenge Mugabe and the post-congress Zanu PF in the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.
And Tsvangirai and Mujuru’s aides, including Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo have also gone on record to reiterate their political outfits’ eagerness to work together.
Tsvangirai said in October that Zanu PF was working hard to stop him and his party from working with Mujuru and her People First movement, whose transformation into a political party is said to be imminent.
The veteran opposition leader said it was clear that Mugabe was rattled by the prospects of the MDC working with Mujuru to turf him and the ruling party out of power in the 2018 national elections.
He said so desperate had Zanu PF become about the issue that the party was allegedly trying to infiltrate the MDC and other opposition parties with a view of scuppering the mooted pact.
In that vein, Tsvangirai urged the opposition, including senior officials from his own party, to be careful about being used and manipulated by Zanu PF.
“I am worried about the apparent infiltration by Zanu PF agents who want to destabilise opposition alliances. They have gone into overdrive in making sure we are divided going into the 2018 elections.
“Speaking as the president of the MDC, I would like to make it clear that we are, and that we will work with Mai Mujuru and all other opposition parties to ensure that we deliver real freedom and a better life to all Zimbabweans.
“We need to unite with other progressive forces instead of raising alarm about non-existent posts,” Tsvangirai said.
Mugabe’s warring party split into two bitterly-opposed formations at the end of last year at the height of its internal ructions, with its purged liberation struggle stalwarts moving to initiate the re-establishment of the “original” Zanu PF — which uses the slogan People First.