By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Harare, May 31, 2016 – FIVE local opposition parties on Tuesday signed a coalition agreement to confront the Zanu PF led government in the forthcoming 2018 elections.
The parties included Simba Makoni’s Mavambo/Kusile, Elton Mangoma’s Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ), Professor Welshman Ncube’s MDC, Farai Mbira’s ZUNDE and the Democratic Restoration Assembly (DARE) led by Gilbert Dzikiti.
However, conspicuous by their absence was Joice Mujuru’s ZimPF and MDC-T, which has bigger support and parliamentary representation.
The parties named their agreement the Coalition of Democrats (CODE).
Two other parties which attended the event but did not sign the document are Dumiso Dabengwa’s ZAPU and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by Tendai Biti.
During the event, Dzikiti addressed the media and stressed the importance of opposition political parties working together and dislodge the Zanu PF led government.
The parties agreed to approach the 2018 elections under the banner of the CODE.
Asked why the MDC-T was not part of the agreement, Ncube said the MDC-T excused itself saying they were still trying to rebuild the party.
“We obviously cannot be their spokespersons today or anytime. History will record that we did engage them at the highest level, we invited them to the conversation,” Ncube said.
“They have indicated unreadiness to work with us for now.
“We have said that CODE doors will remain open for engagement. All those opposed to the current government and we have said let us come together.”
However, in a subsequent interview with RadioVOP, MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said his party was not invited to the coalition.
“We were not invited,” Gutu said.
“The MDC-T does not have a bigger brother mentality. We are always willing and able to collaborate with other political parties with whom we share the same vision, values, goals and aspirations.
“The MDC-T will never lose focus of the bigger picture. We are not fighting any of the other opposition political parties. We are fighting Zanu PF.”
Biti, on his part, affirmed his party’s willingness to close ranks with fellow opposition parties but said they were yet to consult their general council for guidance.
“All political parties in Zimbabwe must come together and fight the autocratic regime known as Zanu PF and its leader known as Robert Mugabe,” he said.
“We cannot sign due to our constitutional obligation, to go to a general council. It will be foolish for any party to think it can go it alone.”
ZAPU also proffered the same reasons.
“The party National People’s council (NPC) and legal advisors have cautioned the National Executive Council (NEC) that such a major commitment taken to the ZAPU congress, which is due before the end of August 2016,” party spokesperson Mjobisa Noko said.
The event was also attended by a handful foreign diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe.