Biti’s party backtracks on alliance with MDC




Tendai Biti

Mr Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has said it is not part of the MDC Alliance led by MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, as no deal has been reached yet.

Mr Tsvangirai launched the MDC Alliance with Mr Biti, Professor Welshman Ncube of the MDC and other small parties that include Transform Zimbabwe and Zanu-Ndonga.

However, it emerged yesterday that PDP officials only joined Tsvangirai at the launch in solidarity. PDP secretary-general Dr Gorden Moyo said his party had not signed any deal to be part of the MDC Alliance.

He said the opposition party was still committed to negotiations that were being conducted under Coalition of Democrats (Code).

“Our party’s position is that we are still in the process of negotiating,” said Mr Moyo. “We haven’t concluded the negotiations and because of that we attended the ceremony. Because we are part of the family of opposition, we attended the launch.

“By its very nature, a coalition decides the leader. It is not any one of the organisations, any one of the parties, it is the coalition. So, PDP will subscribe to any president who is going to be selected by the collective. Once agreed by the collective, we will abide by that. We believe in the principle of collective decision making and that’s what we will do.”

A Code principal Mr Gilbert Dzikiti, who is also the leader of Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment (Dare), described the MDC Alliance as a reunion of former MDC groups. He said Prof Ncube’s MDC had joined the MDC Alliance, but Biti’s PDP remained under the Code umbrella.

“PDP led by (Mr) Tendai Biti are saying they did not sign the agreement,” said Mr Dzikiti. “They are saying they attended in solidarity and sat on the desk just for the optics, but did not append their signature to the document.

“It will be fair to understand the alliance in the context that the parties that split from MDC were finding each other to mend their differences.”

Zapu leader Dr Dumiso Dabengwa said they will not be swallowed by the MDC-T into the MDC Alliance, but were working under Code. He said parties in Code would continue with their negotiations until they came up with their own presidential candidate.

“We remain in Code,” said Dr Dabengwa. “We have been in it for the last two years and we’re determined to remain there. Code does not seek to deter those who want to leave. That’s why the other MDC (led by Professor Welshman Ncube) have decided to leave.”

Dr Dabengwa said Code members were still negotiating and planning how to field candidates for parliamentary and local elections.

“The first thing to do is to agree on the manner in which we are going to nominate candidates,” he said. “It is only after the candidates’ nomination both for local and parliamentary seats is completed that we can move to that of choosing our presidential candidate.

“We are not in a hurry to do that. A presidential candidate can be selected once the date of the elections is given.”