HARARE – The MDC Alliance could join forces with the National Patriotic Front (NPF), headed by retired brigadier-general Ambrose Mutinhiri, to enhance their chances of winning the forthcoming polls.
By Blessing Mashaya and Fungi Kwaramba
Insiders within the Alliance told the Daily News yesterday that there were behind-the-scenes manoeuvres to incorporate NPF into the coalition, led by firebrand MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa.
As if to confirm this, MDC deputy treasurer-general Charlton Hwende seemed to suggest on his Twitter handle yesterday that the alliance could give seats such as Harare South to NPF officials in order to end Zanu PF’s hegemony.
Shadreck Mashayamombe — the acting secretary-general of the NPF — was the Member of Parliament for Harare South before his expulsion from the ruling party early this year for being part of the Generation 40 (G40) faction which was averse to Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidential bid.
“The president . . . today addressed a rally in Harare South. Shadreck Mashayamombe addressed wearing red. He will make a good candidate for MDC Alliance. Several disgruntled Zanu PF join(ed) MDC Harare South Rally. NPF likely to join the MDC Alliance soon,” Hwende twitted.
This comes as Mashayamombe, an avowed supporter of former president Robert Mugabe surprised all-and-sundry when he attended the MDC Alliance rally held in Harare South recently clad in the movement’s dominant colour, red.
The ex-Harare South lawmaker chanted the opposition party’s slogan “Chinja Maitiro, Chisa Mbama Chisa,” to wild celebrations from MDC supporters.
“I am still learning the slogan; give me more time but I will get used to it,” said Mashayamombe.
“We don’t want change that comes in pieces; we want a complete change. So this is what is needed, we need to come together, because without unity we are not going to achieve what we want. We are going to announce to you what we are doing (shall) do in the near future. We are ready for unity in the upcoming elections.
“We thought we cannot be found missing when others who share the same view with us are gathered. We are together in this fight and we want complete change,” Mashayamombe said.
Speaking at the same rally, Chamisa warned President Emmerson Mnangagwa saying the Zanu PF leader cannot stand against a united opposition.
“I was surprised to see my brother Shadreck here, Ngwena (Mnangagwa’s nickname) is not going to survive this time because we are now a united force,” Chamisa said.
Contacted for comment, MDC spokesperson Tabitha Khumalo ducked questions from the Daily News.
She said: “As MDC, we cannot discuss this in the media. When the right time comes, you will be informed”.
Since the NPF’s formation this year, Zanu PF has been in panic mode because of its alleged links to Mugabe.
Although the party is yet to launch, most Zanu PF officials associated with the G40 faction have openly thrown their weight behind the NPF, which is currently organising structures around the country.
The interim president of the NPF, Mutinhiri, served under Mugabe’s government in various capacities before resigning from Zanu PF early this year.
He has since been joined by several allies of Mugabe, among them Mashayamombe, former legislator Sarah Mahoka and former minister of Bulawayo province Eunice Sandi Moyo.
While NPF is unlikely to pose any threat to Zanu PF on its own, analysts said it is capable of rocking the boat, especially in rural constituencies, where Mugabe remains a formidable political brand.
Analysts said a synergy between the MDC, which is popular in urban areas and the NPF might cause serious problems for Zanu PF.
The MDC is the largest opposition Zanu PF has faced since independence in 1980.
A year after its formation, the broad-based party rooted in trade unionism ran Zanu PF a close second in parliamentary elections in 2000, securing a political lock on Matabeleland and urban centres that it has managed to retain ever since.
For the first time in two decades, the forthcoming elections will not feature Mugabe and the popular late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who lost his valiant battle with colon cancer in February this year.
Mugabe’s 37-year iron-fist rule was dramatically ended by the intervention of the military in the country’s governance last November, paving the way for the installation of his long-time aide Mnangagwa as his successor both in government and in Zanu PF.
The MDC Alliance is a conglomeration of seven parties, with Chamisa’s MDC being the dominant partner.
Apart from the MDC, the alliance includes Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party; Welshman Ncube’s MDC; Jacob Ngarivhume’s Transform Zimbabwe; Zanu Ndonga headed by Denford Masiyarira, and the Multi-Racial Christian Democrats which is led by Mathias Guchutu. – Daily News