By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
04 March 2014
Opposition parties have responded cautiously to MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s plea for a fresh coalition, reports said Tuesday.
Addressing a rally in Budiriro on Sunday Tsvangirai pleaded with his former allies to return to the main MDC and form a strong alliance against the ruling ZANU PF. Tsvangirai made specific references to Welshman Ncube (MDC), Job Sikhala (MDC-99) as well as the National Constitutional Assembly leader Lovemore Madkuku.
It was at the same rally that MDC-T organizing secretary Nelson Chamisa claimed that Tsvangirai was anointed by God and said ‘no one can replace’ him. Chamisa said Tsvangirai was the ‘founding father of democracy and a doyen of constitutionalism’ in Zimbabwe.
According to reports Sikhala said he was open to negotiations while Madhuku refused to comment on the matter before a formal approach from Tsvangirai. A Daily News report said Nhlanhla Dube, a spokesman for Ncube’s party, said Tsvangirai should make his plea for a new union through ‘proper channels’. However the NewsDay quoted Dube saying his party was only prepared to re-engage if the MDC-T ‘changed its ways’ and shunned violence.
Dube’s comments come at a time when the MDC-T is embroiled in intra-party squabbles which led to the assault of a senior executive member by suspected party youths last month. Deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma was assaulted at the party’s headquarters after he wrote a letter to Tsvangirai calling on him to step down from the leadership of the party. In 2005 Ncube and his colleagues cited violence as one of the reasons for the leaving the main MDC.
Analyst Nixon Nyikadzino said while a reunion of parties stood to strengthen the opposition it was ‘worrying’ for Tsvangirai’s lieutenants to suggest his infallibility. He said: ‘It is critical that those who are fighting for democracy should be united before the 2018 elections. So we must be congratulatory that opposition leaders see things that way. But at the same time we must not compare people to biblical figures because we are human beings and we are all fallible. We must not fear to criticize leaders.’
Nyikadzino’s comments come after MDC-T deputy national chairman Morgen Komichi is also reported to have compared Tsvangirai to Moses who according to the bible delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. Youth Assembly deputy chairperson, Costa Machingauta, also said just as there was no ANC without Nelson Mandela and no ZANU PF without Mugabe there is no MDC without Tsvangirai.
Nyikadzino urged the MDC leaders not to behave like ZANU PF people. He said ‘What we don’t want is for the MDC to build a culture of praise singing like in ZANU PF. MDC must be a symbol of the good we want to see and they must be able to rise above the ZANU PF mentality of praising individuals’.
Mugabe loyalists, who include presidential affairs minister Didymus Mutasa and former government minister the late Tony Gara, have previously referred to their leader as ‘God’s son’. Vice President Joice Mujuru referred to herself as Mugabe’s ‘daughter’ while Obert Mpofu calls himself Mugabe’s ‘ever obedient son’.