By Dylan Murambgi
Harare, August 19, 2016 – PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party can now brace for a broader coalition of opponents in the next elections, if plans to bring together 22 opposition parties to an anti-government march next week are anything to go by.
National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) chairperson for the Transitional Working Group (TWG), Joelson Mugari, told RadioVOP in an interview that 22 political parties had signed up for the mass demonstration scheduled for the 26th of this month while further agreeing to coalesce beyond the protest.
He said the Coalition of Democrats (CODE) and other political parties outside the coalition had agreed to unite and come up with a strong coalition that will challenge Zanu PF’s 36-year-old stranglehold on power.
“We are not only coalescing for the demonstration and Monday’s meeting will have the issue of a bigger coalition as one of the items on the agenda. We are doing away with egocentric agendas and now focusing on national issues,” he said.
CODE chairperson, Gilbert Dzikiti, confirmed the development, saying a grand coalition of all the political parties in the country was what the people of Zimbabwe were asking for.
“We have to do what the people want us to do. Our coming together for the demonstration is part of the trajectory of trying to find each other. We need to find a framework for working together. It is not only CODE, but other political parties such as the NCA, PDP, ZAPU and others who are not signatories have joined in,” he said.
Meanwhile, the 22 political parties were scheduled to meet Monday to finalise the preparations for the demonstrations.
Mugari said the demonstration was going ahead although the police were yet to respond to their notification letter, written almost a week ago.
He said indications were that the police would not sanction the demonstration as the Officer Commanding Harare Central, Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama had told a recent Joint Operation Command meeting in Harare that the almost 200 000 people expected for the demonstration would overwhelm the city’s road infrastructure.
Mugari however, they were preparing to file an urgent chamber application at the High Court to bar the police from interfering with the peaceful demonstration.
He said it was surprising that the same roads that had accommodate the 1 million Zanu PF supporters recently had suddenly become too small to accommodate a fifth of that number.