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Grand Coalition — Is MDC-T serious about it?

by Justice Benjamin Paradza
15 December 2016

Three years ago, Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE) was established as a global political movement, with the single purpose of forming a united opposition in Zimbabwe. Just at a time when we thought all was going well and the future was looking better for Zimbabwe politics, our so called “big brother” MDC-T has spent two days in Bulawayo debating how and who not to unite with in a united opposition.

Grand CoalitionThe two days were spent in what they called “robust debate”. We wonder what it is anyone can spend two days debating about the unity that the entire nation is demanding from the opposition. Apart from restating the obvious on the state of the nation, their resolutions on forming a coalition are most strange — at best, confusing.

From where the MDC-T stands, their “principles for engagement” with other political parties in a coalition are dependent on several factors, namely

a) Sharing and subscribing to their vision and values of how they perceive democracy,

b) A “common ground” with other parties on what they refer to as “a socio-economic transformation agenda”. (I am not certain what that means.)

c) A shared “National Vision” based on “true ideals of the liberation struggle”

d) A “deepening and entrenchment of democracy” (whatever that means), that respects the rule of law, freedoms, etc. etc.

e) A demonstration that the coalition is “people-based” and hence there must be a “people-based pre-election pact” (whatever that means) that minimises the “unknowns by providing an equitable and scientific and objective basis for approaching the election based on known strengths of political leaders and parties nationally and given electoral districts”. (Who knows better than the electorate what strengths political leaders have?)

f) Fielding presidential and other parliamentary and local government candidates whose past performance give them the best chance of winning. They call this “Institutional Framework of the Coalition” (Only Tsvangirai can boast of past performance as a presidential candidate.)

g) Agreeing on key policy issues before the election. (Does the MDC-T understand the policy process, particularly that it is people driven, not imposed)

h) Agreeing with the MDC-T model of the Executive of Vice- presidents, Ministers and Deputies etc. (That smells like a ZANU PF model to me.)

If the MDC-T says that only a candidate from a party that has won in the past should be considered for parliamentary or local government nomination are they saying parties that never participated in elections before are automatically out of the coalition? If that is the case, then it looks like MDC-T intend forming a coalition with themselves.

In our considered view, an effective coalition is not about individuals; it is not about positions; it is about the future of our potentially great nation. It is most unfortunate that anyone would impose self-centred pre-conditions on the nature, form and shape of a coalition. If indeed it is a people-driven process, why then is MDC-T deciding for the people without even consulting them?

Anyone can see through this. The MDC-T seems to be terribly uncomfortable with the idea of going into a coalition with any political party that does not conform to its agenda and which they do not consider to be big enough. In order to safeguard their own position MDC-T is imposing preconditions that must be met by any party that wishes to participate in their version of a grand coalition. It is ironic that those who claim to fight for democracy, freedom and equality do not believe in these values themselves.

Not only are the “principles for engagement” confusing, no potential partner to any pact or coalition should dictate predetermined terms and conditions of engagement and go public about it. Continued next page...


© ZUNDE Inc. 2016

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