New Zimbabwe coalition formed to take on Mugabe
served as Mugabe’s second-incommand in government for 10 years until she was expelled in 2014 from the ruling Zanu-PF following allegations of plotting to topple the 93-year-old president.
In recent weeks, her party, Zimbabwe People First, has been deeply divided in the wake of her fallout with some founder members. She has since renamed her new formation the National People’s Party. Analysts say these ructions have eroded her public appeal as a viable opposition leader.
Before this week’s grand coalition pact, Mujuru’s biggest hurdle has been the cloud of mistrust that swirls around her. She joined Zanu-PF as a teen- ager and has known no other ideology.
Her critics say that, as a former high-ranking member of Zanu-PF, she is tainted by corruption, mismanagement of public resources and a culture of violence.
By going into coalition with Tsvangirai, who is respected in opposition circles as a feisty campaigner against autocracy, Mujuru could somewhat sanitise her Zanu-PF history while leveraging on her liberation track record.
Tsvangira, 65, a former labour union leader who has spearheaded the strongest opposition to Mugabe, was prime minister for 10 years in an uneasy coalition govern- ment with strongman.
Commentators say Tsvangirai’s biggest handicap is his lack of liberation war credentials. The military chiefs, who wield tremendous power in Zimbabwe, not only view him with suspicion owing to his perceived links with some Western governments, but also hold him in contempt because he is not a war veteran.
The conventional thinking is that by joining hands with Mujuru, Tsvangirai, who says he has finally won his battle against colon cancer, could finally strike a chord with the influential securocrats.
Ncube, 56, a professor of law, fell out with Tsvangirai in 2005, leading to the split of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) into two formations. But in recent months the two opposition leaders have expressed a willingness to reunite before next year’s election.
Known for his ability to strategise, Ncube brings sizeable clout to the grand coalition, drawing support mostly from the pro-opposition Matabeleland provinces which have consistently voted against Mugabe since 1980.