Lovemore Lubinda

Efforts by Zimbabwean political parties to form a grand coalition for 2018 elections, that would challenge President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF seems to be faltering.

This comes after a secretive meeting held in South Africa recently, led by an international think tank In Transformative Initiative (ITI).

As the parties that took part in the meeting came out guns blazing accusing MDC-T and Zim PF of failing to see the light and put their egos aside for the common good, and before the ink on their meeting minutes dried, came news that Morgan Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru leaders of two major and strongest opposition political parties are engaged in a coalition of their own.

Tsvangirai recently told the press while welcoming back his party deserters, Paul Madzore and Pearson Mungofa, that Zimbabwean parties do not need extra or foreign hand to bring them to the negotiating table. His counterpart, Mujuru also snubbed the talks saying she suspect a ZANU PF hand behind the idea.

Since the idea was mooted last year, opposition parties have been haggling over which position which their respective party leader will assume in the coalition. More so at the pleasure of ZANU PF and President Robert Mugabe, who since independence has managed to bank on the opposition parties’ fragmentation and romped to victory.

Analysts think that the development throws into doubt the eagerly awaited formation of a grand coalition ahead of the 2018 national elections.

Political analyst Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya believes in the Chinese adage ‘talking does not cook rice’ and says much talk and little or no action is what is killing coalition process. “Zimbabwe’s opposition; press statements, bad mouthing, egocentric trips, etc, if internet and media were the people ZANU PF would lose now!” He mocks the parties.

He believes more energies should be expanded towards real action, and not mere talk be it on social media, newspapers or elsewhere.

Advocate Tendai Biti who is also PDP leader and was part of the talks agrees with Dr Ruhanya the egoism is killing progress on coalition talks. He urged other parties that ZANU PF is an elephant which need the coming together of parties if any hopes of unseating it are to be entertained.

Over the years Mugabe had been able to ride on the confusion in the opposition camps, who split votes by failing to come together at his benefit. While talks of the need to electoral reforms cannot be downplayed, it has been identified that politics is a game of numbers, hence calls for a united effort. It remains to be seen if something concrete would come out- only time will tell!