The Herald Harare Tichaona Zindoga
Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com

A prospective opposition coalition between Mr Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC-T party and Zimbabwe People First’s Dr Joice Mujuru appears doomed amid bickering over who should lead the united camp, The Herald has learnt.A marriage of convenience between the long-time opposition leader Mr Tsvangirai, and the former Vice President Mujuru appeared on course when the two joined forces at a rally in Gweru in August. It is understood that a provisional framework for a consociational thrust between the two parties has been put in place ahead of harmonised elections in 2018.

These past weeks, though, have seen discord from both camps as they tussle for leadership of the proposed coalition leading to harsh exchanges of words among supporters and officials. The latest turn of events has seen Dr Mujuru, in an interview published last week, undermining and casting doubt on Mr Tsvangirai’s credibility as a leader and insinuating that he does not command much local support.

She says that Mr Tsvangirai was more respected abroad than at home, where he lacked the liberation credentials and respect.

She told the Africa Report in an interview: « As People First, we respect Tsvangirai. He helped us because our fear and our respect (for President Mugabe) really damaged us. We could not be bold the way Tsvangirai was, but I respect him for that. We know the strengths and weaknesses of each party. Tsvangirai’s strength resonates with you outsiders, not with Zimbabweans, » she said.

Mr Tsvangirai’s party has often been accused of being a Western project and he a puppet to institute regime change on behalf of foreign interests. Dr Mujuru says her outfit is home-grown and has a buy-in from war veterans.

« The war veterans understand what was missing in Tsvangirai’s outfit. (We are) now mapping out which areas and what we can start working on together, » she said.

Recently, an « elder » at People First, Mr Dzikamai Mavhaire, reportedly called the MDC-T leader an « idiot » who would not lead ahead of Dr Mujuru, a statement his party attempted to smother with a purported rebuttal.

However, tension between the two sides, especially on the grassroots and among supporters, is rising amid dis- agreements over who would lead a united front. Independent politician Mr Temba Mliswa has also waded into the debate, siding with Mr Tsvangirai.

He told a daily newspaper this week that: « If Tsvangirai decides to accommodate Mai Mujuru, then so be it, but that man is not only popular and genuine, he is also a natural leader and a father figure. The people of Zimbabwe like him and we can’t take that away from him. »

He blamed People First for lack of organisation and principles citing an example of the sidelining of its founding figures like former State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa and former Zanu-PF spokesperson Mr Rugare Gumbo. The spokesperson of the MDC-T Mr Obert Gutu was worried about the escalating bickering.

« The MDC is a social democratic political party that passionately abhors the use of hate language in both private and public political communication, » he told The Herald.

ZimPF spokesman Mr Jealousy Mawarire claimed that the two parties had « a good working relationship ».

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