4 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Coalition to Fight Zanu-PF, MDC-T

THE MDC formation led by Professor Welshman Ncube, Zapu and the Patriotic Union of Matabeleland (Puma) have signed an agreement to unite during elections expected later this year to fight MDC-T and Zanu PF in Matabeleland and the Midlands.

Top level sources told the Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday that representatives of the political parties recently met in South Africa where they signed documents to seal the deal.

Zapu secretary-general Ralph Mguni and MDC treasurer Paul Themba Nyathi reached an agreement on behalf of their parties after several months of engagement, according to a senior MDC official.

Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa and MDC spokesman Nhlanhla Dube denied that an agreement to unite during the elections had been sealed, but sources insisted Dabengwa agreed to endorse Ncube as the presidential candidate while the parties will work on a formula to share constituencies in Bulawayo, and Matabeleland North and South.

"I am not aware of the agreement; there is nothing like that," said Dabengwa.

But sources said the parties agreed to keep the deal under wraps "until an appropriate time".

"There is also going to be a working formula of how Puma will be supported in some constituencies by the MDC and Zapu. It's a coalition of parties that share a common vision and goals," said a source.

The political parties, which are largely popular in Matabeleland and Midlands regions, are vocal on calling for devolution of power to be provided for in the new governance charter despite spirited resistance from Zanu PF.

Apart from the Midlands and Matabeleland regions, the parties are also eyeing some constituencies in Manicaland.

"The whole idea is to make sure the parties unite and win constituencies to create a hung parliament so that Zanu PF and the MDC-T won't have free reign," said the source. "This will enable Matabeleland MPs to push for issues that are sensitive to the region like devolution of power and Gukurahundi compensation."

The political parties have repeatedly said the only way to topple President Robert Mugabe from his 32-year iron-fist rule was a strong coalition to avoid splitting votes to the advantage of Zanu PF.

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