Simba Makoni, leader of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) party, says he is open to an alliance with democratic forces in the country, including a new political project being mulled by Didymus Mutasa, Zanu(PF)’s former secretary for administration. “If you know our position going back to 2008 on how we deal with other democratic forces in the country, then you must know that it doesn’t change with persons, but with issues. We will work with anyone who wants genuine change with other Zimbabweans,” Makoni said this week.
While he was evasive on whether or not he had met with Mutasa to discuss the possibility of joining forces, the former Zanu(PF) secretary for administration confirmed he indeed had met the MKD leader to assess modalities of working together.
“That is one of the many issues (coalition) we want to consider. We had a very good conversation with Makoni and other people of like thinking…We have a very good cause and we are very happy about it,” Mutasa said.
When it does eventually take off, ZANU-People First is likely going to be a confluence of present and past colleagues drawn from the mainstream Zanu(PF) who have borne the brunt of a party purge that has continued for months on end.
It is also increasingly likely that the new political outfit could set its eyes on the 2018 poll where it will take part in its maiden election contest against President Robert Mugabe — meaning that its founding members and backers will soon have to step out of the shadows and make themselves known to the electorate in a bid to win their hearts and minds.
ZAPU leader Dumiso Dabengwa is the another political leader who has been on the radar of the Mutasa led political party. Although no overtones either side could be confirmed.
Jacob Mafume, spokesperson of the MDC Renewal Team said this week there was need to work towards a grand coalition of democrats and that those democrats trapped in undemocratic institutions needed to come out now.
“We need to hold a national convention where we all can agree on the terms of engagement and how we need to execute the transition from a post President Mugabe rule,” said Mafume.
However, political commentator, Rashweat Mukundu, said ZANU-People First had several hurdles to overcome before it could contemplate going into a coalition with other political players and this included mobilising support.
“…the People First Project will suffer the same fate as many other parties, including the MDCs. That is intense violence, harassment and threats.
“Zimbabwe’s politics is neither determined by party popularity nor by the ballot, but what the securocrats and ZANU-PF decide. The new party will need lots of grit to overcome the entrenched political elite in Zanu(PF),” said Mukundu.
It appears that a coalition with the already existent political parties in the country may be the best foot forward for the mooted political outfit — if it wishes to survive — as it is likely to come under intense attack from the mainstream Zanu(PF) formation led by President Mugabe.
Makoni left the ruling party in 2008, a few weeks before elections were due in March that same year.
At the time, Makoni’s departure filled many with anticipation that senior Zanu(PF) officials would also come out in the open and back his efforts, after it became clear that President Mugabe was not keen on retiring from active politics.
This was not to be the case and Makoni secured only 8,3 percent of the vote in the March 2008 elections.
Still this was enough to put him under fire from a section of voters who claimed that his share from the vote had denied Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC an outright win — an occurrence which plunged the election into a run-off in June 2008.
Since that election, the political fortunes of MKD have remained lacklustre with Makoni dabbling in an alliance with Tsvangirai in the last 2013 elections.
Meanwhile, Mutasa has slammed the Look East Policy saying it has been unable to transform Zimbabwe’s economic situation.
He said the country’s leadership should swallow their pride and re-engage the West, if they are serious about rebuilding the country’s bleeding economy.
“We talk of looking East, but the countries in the East have direct and fruitful trade relations with the West. We are feeding off the crumbs of the East. Why can’t our leadership swallow their pride and reengage the west?” he said.
“Not long ago President Mugabe went to China and came with memorandum of agreement but nothing of monetary value. They have nothing to show for that trip. If they can just tell me one thing that they brought from that trip, I will be very grateful,” said the former Zanu(PF) secretary for administration.
President Mugabe last year made a hyped State visit to China where the State media claimed that the ageing leader clinched mega deals yet the high-powered delegation only came back with promises.