MDC leader Welshman Ncube and Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa yesterday opened up for the first time on why the supposed grand coalition, a united front against President Robert Mugabe, had failed.
Report by Own Correspondent.
There had been suggestions that talks to form a coalition were at an advanced stage, but all hopes were extinguished when Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Ncube and Dabengwa filed their nomination papers last Friday to run for the presidency. Ncube said he was not invited to join the coalition, while Dabengwa said this was just talk without action.
“Tsvangirai is speaking of a grand coalition, but he is discussing that in the media. He has not told us of such a coalition,” Ncube said.
“He has shut us out of his coalition with Mugabe for the past two years and we are saying he should go it alone. How do you discuss a coalition after nomination? You are one hunter, with one gun, one bullet and a single shot.
“In any event, I cannot unilaterally join a coalition to which I have not been invited and join a coalition I know of through newspapers,” Ncube said on micro-blogging site Twitter. He said there was an ideological gulf between his party and the MDC-T and a coalition was hardly likely to succeed in any event. “If what some imply is true that we should just talk with those that violate us, why does the MDC-T not bridge is differences with Zanu PF?” Ncube asked.
Dabengwa on the other hand said he filed his nomination papers for the presidential race because the much-hyped grand coalition has had nothing to offer so far. A seemingly annoyed Dabengwa opened up to Southern Eye at the weekend that there was really nothing concrete on the table regarding the grand coalition.
Expectations were high that the former Home Affairs minister would throw his weight behind Tsvangirai in the presidential race.
The hopes emanated from meetings in Johannesburg and Harare where the Tsvangirai camp is alleged to have approached Dabengwa in a bid to lure him into the coalition. “We had to file our papers as Zapu because we did not want to leave things to chance and the last minute,” Dabengwa said.
He revealed that political leaders who intended to form the grand coalition had entered into a “simple” understanding on the need to unite.
“The grand coalition was a simple understanding that we needed to work together,” Dabengwa explained.
“What did not happen was us as the leaders reaching a conclusion on how we were going to proceed in terms of who would get what and many other administrative arrangements.”
He said there had been no finality on the matter and so he decided to file his papers. Dabengwa is set to square off with Mugabe, Tsvangirai, Ncube and Kisinoti Mukwazhe of the Zimbabwe Democratic Party.
He said the party had avoided taking a cue from Mavambo leader Simba Makoni who withdrew from the race.
“We filed our papers and we are happy with that,” he said. “We did not go the Simba Makoni way or the Zanu Ndonga way of completely withdrawing from the race to throw our weight behind Tsvangirai.”
Asked whether that decision meant Zapu had pulled out of the grand coalition completely, Dabengwa said they were still open for further discussions.
“Our filing of nomination process does not mean we are out of the coalition,” he said. “We remain open for discussions.”
There had been suggestions that other candidates would pull out of the race and support Tsvangirai’s candidature.