ZIMBABWE – Main opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday confirmed that his party was involved in grand coalition talks with former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s People First (PF) movement, but warned that the project might be stalled by disagreements over the sharing of key positions.
Addressing mourners at the burial of former Masvingo mayor Femius Chakabuda at Railway Cemetery, Tsvangirai dared former Zanu PF heavyweight and ex-Energy and Power Development minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, who was present, not to expend much energy on “positions, but conditions” in the much-hyped unity deal between MDC-T and PF.
“The country is in the doldrums. We are at a crossroads. We are a very rich country with poor people. It is a shame! The challenge is: Where do we go from now? But I think it is time to unite as political parties. People haggle over positions, but it is not about positions, but conditions for the people of Zimbabwe. Do you get me, vaMavhaire?” Tsvangirai said to applause and laughter from the mourners.
Mavhaire, who was fired from both government and Zanu PF for allegedly being sympathetic to Mujuru, has been linked to the PF
project, although he has remained tight-lipped since his sacking. The former Cabinet minister is said to be in charge of the recruitment drive in the yet-to-be-formed party.
Tsvangirai hinted that some in the PF were already throwing spanners in the coalition talks. “Let us forget about internal fights. In politics, what is important is what people think about you, not what you think about them,” he said.
“There are those who work to be at Heroes Acre — leave them. We work for the people, not Heroes Acre,” Tsvangirai said.
NewsDay last week revealed that talks between MDC-T and PF had stalled due to suspicions and mistrust and had been restricted to
informal discussions. PF’s entry into politics has sparked intense interest, although the party is yet to be formally launched.
Tsvangirai eulogised Chakabuda, whom he described as “Mr Masvingo, who left an indelible print as the city mayor”.
Chakabuda, who was 64, collapsed in a bathtub at his home on Monday and was pronounced dead on arrival at Makurira Memorial Hospital. Speakers, among them from the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe, politicians across the divide, the Masvingo business community, friends and relatives, described Chakabuda as a humble man with a big heart. newsday