Harare – Zimbabwe’s fragile opposition could be on the verge of forging a formidable grand coalition against President Robert Mugabeahead of next year’s polls, as it emerges one of Morgan Tsvangira’s nemesis has buried the hatchet to stand up “dictatorship”.
Tendai Biti, the leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who broke away from Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) after the shambolic 2013 elections controversially won by Mugabe, exclusively told News24 on Thursday he was “putting Zimbabweans first”.
Biti said that pictures of him together with Tsvangirai being circulated on social media confirmed something “positive” was on the horizon for the fractured opposition.
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Biti and Tsvangirai met for the first since 2014 on Wednesday at a joint opposition rally called to drum up support for wide-sweeping electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 polls tentatively set for July.
“Yes (something positive for the opposition is happening) I had not met comrade Tsvangirai since 10 April 2014,” said Biti.
“And when we met yesterday (Wednesday) there was some chemistry, it was like yesterday. There was a reconnection between us. We have to put the people of Zimbabwe first. We have to return to the status quo where we worked together and form a deadly combination.”
The PDP leader added that it was gratifying to see Zimbabwean opposition leaders and supporters speak with one voice at the rally demanding fair and free elections.
“We have formed a great team of Zimbabwean opposition and Morgan Tsvangirai and I are key components of this Dream Team,” said Biti.
Political analysts said Biti’s overtures to Tsvangirai indeed gave hope to Mugabe’s opponents, who were tired of the nonagenarian’s grip on power.
They said that the route taken by the PDP leader was “what the doctor has ordered”.
“It shows maturity and level-headedness. I think this is a commendable move and sends good signals to other opposition parties. There is strength in numbers. That is the only way to make meaningful contribution to challenging Zanu-PF’s political hegemony. Without unity, the opposition in Zimbabwe is doomed,” said Reward Mushayabasa.
Mugabe (93) has been at the helm of the country since independence from colonial Britain in 1980 but he does not show any signs of exiting the political front anytime soon despite visible old age and failing health.
He has accepted to be the Zanu-PF candidate next year, as he seeks a fifth term.