MDC-T Factions In informal Talks -Coltart

Coltart who emphasised that he was speaking in his personal capacity told participants at a lecture series organised by the Students Solidarity Trust (SST) that he regretted the split and the two factions’ failure to form an electoral pact ahead of the 2008 elections.

A fortnight ago Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said he was not opposed to calls for the two factions to reunite ahead of elections expected next year.

The MDC split into two following differences over participation in senatorial elections.

Arthur Mutambara was brought in to lead the smaller faction that also had the late Gibson Sibanda and Welshman Ncube.

Coltart who stuck with the smaller faction and is also the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture said strong leadership would be needed if the two groups were to reconcile.

He said a united front was necessary to help complete Zimbabwe’s transition to democracy.

Earlier, Coltart had delivered a lecture on the state of Zimbabwe’s education sector, which he said had suffered irreparable damage over the last two decades after huge strides were made during the early years of the country’s independence.

Coltart also spoke strongly against Zanu (PF) supporters who were allegedly intimidating teachers and accusing them of contributing the declining pass rate in schools.

He said provinces where violence against teachers was most pronounced had the highest number of temporary teachers hence the increasing failure rate.

Other panelists included former education minister Fay Chung and Raymond Majongwe, the secretary general of the militant Progressive Teachers of Zimbabwe.

Majongwe appealed to the government to protect teachers in the volatile provinces and warned that the impending elections will reverse all the gains made by the unity government in reviving the education sector.