DPM Khupe opens up on coalition

MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe has described as “nonsensical” suggestions for her to step aside for MDC leader Welshman Ncube to contest as the first VP candidate if the two parties were to forge a coalition.

REPORT BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) leader George Nkiwane on Tuesday said political dynamics favoured a Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai-Ncube ticket to allow the formation of an electoral pact between the two parties.

“While it would have been desirable to have a woman as VP candidate, unfortunately the situation at hand calls for unity with other political leaders who happen to be men,” he said.

“The MDCs can reserve the Parliament Speaker position for a woman. Ncube should be invited to stand as the first VP.”

But Khupe yesterday shot down the suggestions arguing that there was no “justification because I have been winning elections compared to the MDC leader”.

“It is up to the congress that elected me the party’s VP to suggest that I step aside,” she said. “It does not work like that. People should use common sense.”

Calls for the two formations of the MDC to form a coalition pact ahead of elections have been growing in recent days, although there are fears that some in leadership positions may resist this fearing they would lose their posts.

There is no love lost between Khupe and Ncube following their bruising electoral

campaign ahead of the 2008 elections in which the MDC-T vice-president prevailed.

“There are processes within political parties that should be followed,” Khupe said. “And besides, what would be the justification for me to step aside because I have been winning elections yet Ncube has been losing?”

The Deputy Prime Minister added that a woman VP candidate cannot be wished away if any coalition is “serious” about wooing votes from the electorate.

“You cannot do away with the issue of women,” she said. “I have done very well for women. If the presidential candidate is Tsvangirai in such a unity (deal), the VP candidate will be Khupe, a woman.”

There have been calls for the two parties to forge a coalition pact ahead the upcoming elections.

Attempts to unite the two parties collapsed just before the 2008 harmonised elections, allowing President Robert Mugabe to survive the ouster after losing the first round of presidential poll.

The MDC split in 2005 after accusations of autocracy, violence, personality clashes and sharp policy differences. Analysts say had there been unity in the 2008 elections, Zanu PF could have lost.

Last week, Tsvangirai told civic society leaders that he was open to a coalition pact with the MDC, with Ncube saying he was also open to a coalition, as long as it was not condescending.

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