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ZUNDE condemns mushrooming coalitions

by Moses Chamboko
24October 2017

Recent reports about the People’s Rainbow Coalition (PRC) led by Dr Joice Mujuru have evoked mixed reactions. After the creation of Tsvangirai’s MDC Alliance and Mangoma’s own coalition, Zimbabwe’s politicians have settled for mini coalitions instead of a grand coalition. While Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE) applauds any effort towards formation of the much-anticipated coalition, we remain strongly opposed to sporadic formations where anybody can wake up any day and announce that they have formed a coalition or alliance with this or that party. We need to be more serious than that.

Lest we be perceived as contradicting ourselves, we must state categorically that ZUNDE has not entered into any coalition with Dr Joice Mujuru as has been incorrectly reported, or with any other party. While we were among the first parties to sign up to Coalition of Democrats (CODE) and National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) to give impetus to the coalition agenda, we have not mandated anybody to enter into any other arrangement beyond that, be it coalition or alliance.
Our considered view is that the coalition issue must be approached with the seriousness it deserves, with national interests at heart, and not driven by personal egos or self-aggrandisement.

Since inception on 24th October 2013, ZUNDE has been unwavering on the coalition issue. We believed then and we still believe today that what Zimbabwe needs is a genuine, effective and inclusive coalition. What we see happening at the moment seems to be against all three of these criteria. It is therefore, against the spirit and core values of ZUNDE. We cannot be party to something that violates what defines us.
That we have had informal contact and discussions with leaders of other political parties across the opposition spectrum is a fact and we will continue to have such discussions for as long as it is necessary. Most importantly, we will continue to try to convince the parties that we really need to be together as we go into the next election. We have not given up on this as we believe it is the most reasonable thing to do as 2018 approaches.

However, supporting the formation of a coalition is not the same as advocating for the mushrooming of coalitions. Right now confusion reigns by having MDC Alliance, Coalition of Democrats and lately, People’s Rainbow Coalition. There was another group called Mass Opposition Movement (MOM) which seems to have died a natural death. It is our sincere hope that visionary leaders from these formations will rise and cause a genuine, effective and inclusive convergence to emerge. Zimbabweans need nothing short of that.

To give credit where it is due, Joice Mujuru has put on the table two aspects that are worth considering – an inclusive brand for the coalition and an open contest for aspiring candidates. Let the best candidate represent the coalition from ward to parliament. That is the essence of democracy.
In November 2015, ZUNDE proposed that a critical step towards formation of an effective and inclusive coalition should be to put in place a non-partisan but all-inclusive stakeholder council, political leadership forum and a secretariat drawing members from both the stakeholder council and political leadership. We proposed that the council could draw representatives from a cross section of our society including war veterans, student movements, vendors, farmers, professionals, industry, churches, the diaspora, etc. The council’s key role would be to provide guidance (not directives) to the political leadership from an ordinary but concerned citizen’s point of view.

We probably have come to that point in time where we cannot leave everything to career politicians. Our country belongs to everybody, not just to politicians.

Moses Chamboko is Secretary General of ZUNDE. This statement has been fully endorsed by ZUNDE’s internal and external structures and authorised by Justice Benjamin Paradza, Exiled Judge of the High Court of Zimbabwe and President of ZUNDE.

 

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