…as ZANU-PF readies for 2018 elections
zwnews.com Political Reporter- Simba Moyo
Zimbabwean opposition is at it again-The issue of who is going to lead in coming 2018 General harmonised Elections have surfaced again, threatening to tear apart the loose coalition of opposition parties.
National media has been awash with reports that the longest serving opposition party leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) Morgan Tsvangirai and dethroned former ZANU-PF Vice-President and leader of the National People Party Joyce Mujuru are set for collision course, a move that could derail a full coalition battle against the ailing Robert Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since attaining independence from the British in 1980.
Recently, Mujuru expressed her intentions to lead the coalition citing that she has war credentials and a team of war veterans who have been disgruntled by Mugabe’s cling to power are backing her.
Mujuru believes, this alone puts her as correct candidate ahead of Tsvangirai who has battled Mugabe over two decades and failed to oust him.
Tsvangirai on the other side, warned recently that coalition partners against jostling for positions at this point. He described those already speculating on who should hold influential positions in the coalition as “small minded opportunists”.
It is still yet to be seen on how he will deal with it, amid pressure from some of his supporters to do it alone. When he toured some provinces ahead of signing a MoU with Mujuru, some of his supporters warned him about the impending danger, as they thought the throne would be taken away from him by those he was uniting with.
Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume like Tsvangirai, posits that there is need to understand that 2018 should be driven by common sense politics, not personal agenda, so there is a need to acknowledge we will need a strong coalition with a candidate that is supported by the majority of Zimbabweans. “Parties must work hard to build their support base and mobilise citizens for the 2018 elections,” argues Ngarivhume.
While the war of words has preoccupied the opposition, ZANU-PF has remained focused in keeping Mugabe in power. The party has Robert Mugabe as its sole candidate, and has already started canvassing for votes using intimidation tactics, parcelling land and food handouts in various rural constituencies of the country. It is also engaging youths, educating its party faithfuls about the new voting systems using state resources and machinery.
Zimbabwe has a population of about 13 million people, against an estimated 8 million eligible to voters. Only about 4 million have been voting in the last two general elections of 2008 and 2013. In 2008, over five million people registered to vote but only 2 537 240 turned out to vote and this figure represents just a quarter of the eligible voting population.
In 2013, 40 000 registered voters were considered invalid and 3 480 047 turned out to vote as 69 280 votes were considered invalid with 304 890 being turned away.
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