Lloyd Gumbo, Harare Bureau
MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai went behind his national council and agreed on a memorandum of understanding with embattled National People’s Party leader Dr Joice Mujuru for a pre-election coalition without input from the rest of the leadership.
It is understood that in the agreement, Mr Tsvangirai would lead the touted coalition, while Dr Mujuru would upstage three incumbents in the MDC-T as vice president.
The MDC-T has three vice presidents – Ms Thokozani Khupe, and Messrs Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri.
The terms of the agreement are said to have caused friction in the MDC-T, especially among the party vice presidents and their supporters.
Dr Mujuru recently told BBC’s HardTalk programme that she was working on an MoU with Mr Tsvangirai that would see them work together.
Insiders said Mr Tsvangirai unilaterally told the national council and the national executive that he would personally handle coalition talks.
“He has already signed an MoU with Mujuru on their positions, which will see Tsvangirai contesting as presidential candidate, while Mujuru will be the deputy president,” said a national council member.
“They have already agreed on that. What they are just waiting for is for Mujuru’s party to do their own party elections. But all is set. We will then have about three or four more smaller parties, among them Welshman Ncube’s MDC, we have already agreed with them. Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic
Party was not in the picture until very recently.”
Another source said Mr Tsvangirai was likely to face resistance from his national executive when he formally presents the terms of the coalition agreement with Dr Mujuru.
“For instance, what happens to the three vice presidents that we already have?” said a source. “Those are some of the serious questions he will have to answer.
“If he says we will have two vice presidents, it means Khupe will automatically fall by the wayside, since we already have a female vice president and that won’t augur well with her faction.
“That is the reason Khupe’s faction was and is still reluctant to get into this coalition with Mujuru. They will make sure they frustrate it even through people in NPP.”
Messrs Chamisa and Mudzuri were said to sweating over the emergence of Prof Ncube in the picture, which could force Mr Tsvangirai to play a tribal balancing game by elevating him to be one of the vice presidents.
MDC-T spokesperson, Mr Obert Gutu claimed there were no divisions in his party on the proposed coalition.
Asked to comment on what the status of the three incumbents will be in the event that Dr Mujuru is appointed vice president of the coalition, Mr Gutu said: “Just be patient. You will be the first to be advised as soon as a deal has been clinched.”