THE opposition MDC-T party is not yet considering a possible merger with former vice president Joice Mujuru as it seeks to re-strengthen for the 2018 general elections, party spokesperson Obert Gutu has said.
The Morgan Tsvangirai-led opposition is desperate to enhance its diminishing prospects of ending President Robert Mugabe’s 34 year old autocratic rule after failing repeatedly in past elections.
After suffering another defeat to Zanu PF last year, and further weakened by a split April this year, the temptation is high for a party fatigued by nearly 15 years of opposition politics, to consider what may seem a far-fetched loose coalition with Mujuru and her beleaguered allies.
Mujuru, vice president over the last decade, suffered an ignominious exit from a party she has served her entire adult life, after being barred from standing for any Zanu PF post on allegations of plotting to dethrone President Mugabe.
Through the state media, she was also labelled corrupt and unfit to continue occupying the country’s second most powerful job, allegations that culminated in her ouster from government.
As things stand, Mujuru and Tsvangirai now share a common enemy in President Mugabe, whose controversial leadership style looks likely to be carried over by rock-hard Vice President and likely successor Emmerson Mnangagwa.
But in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com Monday, Gutu rejected suggestions his party would consider a coalition with Mujuru, should the battered former VP spring to challenge either Mugabe or Mnangagwa in 2018.
“We are not bothered in anyway by what is happening in Zanu PF and we
are not talking about Mujuru,” Gutu said.
“The MDC is a political party on its own and we are concentrating on strengthening our party structures, making sure that we are ready to take over party in free and fair elections.”
He however, added: “The MDC has a big tent approach or philosophy.
“All people who share the same philosophy with us, who believe in social democracy, in peaceful non-violent political activity against the Zanu PF dictatorship, who believe in that we have a patriotic duty to rescue the country from the rogue Zanu PF’s regime are welcome.”
Gutu said “Mujuru and many other Zimbabweans would not be barred if they meet these benchmarks”.
Harare based political analyst Takura Zhangazha said, currently, Mujuru would likely choose to lie low as she considers her political options but was capable of turning the heat on Mugabe towards an election.
“It is highly unlikely that she can unite with MDC because she has stated already she will remain Zanu PF but that is however a possibility when we approach the 2018 elections,” Zhangazha said.
Mujuru was accused by President Mugabe’s wife, Grace of pushing for the continuation of the 2009-2013 coalition government which Mugabe formed with his two MDC rival factions.
The first lady has also accused Mujuru of never chanting anti-MDC slogans during her public addresses.
Former premier Tsvangirai is believed to have a soft spot for Mujuru and MDC-T legislators gave the former VP solidarity cheers in parliament as political fires within Zanu PF raged to engulf her.
Another political analyst who prefers to remain anonymous on professional reasons also said western donors that have bankrolled Zimbabwe’s opposition would likely support the possibility of a merger between the two.
“What further irked Mugabe is Mujuru’s perceived association with the West and, if that is true, l am sure the West would still want to maintain its stance to push her forward but how this shall play out is a matter of time,” he said.
“Mind you, Mujuru could still be bitter over the mysterious death of her husband.
“We all thought she would let sleeping dogs lie because of her government post but her controversial removal from government and Zanu PF now sees her with nothing to lose anymore and she may put her tormentors to the sword when elections come.”
The possibility of a loose merger between Tsvangirai’s MDC and Mujuru could further be strengthened by opposition Mavambo-Kusile leader Simba Makoni, a known Mujuru sympathiser, who backed Tsvangirai’s presidential bid 2013.