ZAPU leader Dumiso Dabengwa claims he tried to form a coalition with the MDC, but had not received a meaningful response. The Welshman Ncube-led party claims there were never such attempts.
Addressing more than 200 supporters at a Zapu meeting on Sunday at Beit Hall in Luveve, Dabengwa said it was disheartening to note that he had tried by all means possible to unite with the MDC ahead of elections, but the party was non-committal.
“We tried at the beginning of this year for a small coalition with MDC, but nothing has been done up to now,” Dabengwa said. “We had initially agreed on a lot of things, but all that came to a standstill.”
Dabengwa said he approached Ncube last Wednesday, since the Nomination Court was sitting on Friday and again there was no response.
“I even told Welshman Ncube that I was willing and was prepared to be just the national president of the party and he be nominated as the presidential candidate,” he said. “I was even prepared to pave a way for him to be the presidential candidate of Zapu as age has also taken its toll on me and because I could not hold two positions at the same time, but there has been no reply.”
He said Zapu had given MDC a chance toward forming a coalition, an opportunity that was lost.
However, MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said he respected Zapu and the two parties had mutual co-existence and constant interaction, but denied that there had ever been any moves to form a coalition.
“Probably Dabengwa had sent his envoy to the wrong people and not to Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Paul Themba Nyathi who were the right people,” he said.
There have been several reports that there were plans to form a grand coalition against President Robert Mugabe at the forthcoming elections, but all hopes of such a move were dashed when Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Ncube and Zimbabwe Democratic Party’s Kisinoti Mukwazhe, all filed papers to contest in this month’s Presidential election.
Meanwhile, Dabengwa lamented the manner in which his party conducted primary elections in Bulawayo.
“I will not hide anything. What was done is not alright and frankly, I am deeply disappointed because that has not been the party’s tradition, it is embarrassing,” he said.
Dabengwa said the internal elections had been disorderly, despite preparations having started as early as January.
“Despite that, last week there was commotion and I was even called with reports that there was a shortage of candidates in some constituances,” he said. “Some people came to see me on Thursday concerning that issue.”
He said other candidates were chosen in a way that did not satisfy the people and some had been merely imposed.