Biti welcomes Tsvangirai leadership

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PEOPLE’S Democratic Party (PDP) leader Tendai Biti has said his party will accept Morgan Tsvangirai as leader of the grand coalition of opposition political parties that is expected to challenge President Robert Mugabe in the 2018 elections.

By Tinotenda Munyukwi

Addressing journalists in the capital yesterday, Biti refuted reports that his party was against a Tsvangirai leadership, saying PDP would put its weight behind the former Prime Minister, should all the members of the coalition choose him as their face to challenge Zanu PF in 2018.

“If the alliance chooses Tsvangirai (as its leader), we will accept. We will accept anyone that is agreed by the alliance, even if it’s Brigadier (Agrippa) Mutambara (ZimPF), we will accept,” he said.

“Our ultimate goal is to make sure that all the opposition parties in Zimbabwe converge, so that we are able to field one single candidate for every contested seat in the elections that will be held in Zimbabwe next year.”

Recently, there were reports that the negotiations were frosty, with some political parties disgruntled over the automatic leadership of the grand coalition assumed by the Tsvangirai-led MDC-T, which was also being blamed for greediness on parliamentary seats.

Biti confirmed that negotiations for the grand coalition were still underway and PDP’s undivided support was only being hampered by the terms of entry.

“We are part of the MDC Alliance and all that is incomplete is negotiations on the points of engagement. The idea of unity is not negotiable. What is negotiable are the terms of entry and arrangements,” he said.

Biti has, meanwhile, condemned violence being perpetrated by Zimbabweans both locally and abroad, saying this was not indicative of Zimbabwean culture.

“We do not believe that there is room for violence in our society. We do not believe that anyone has a right to breach provisions of our Constitution, whether in Malawi, Dubai, Hong Kong or Shanghai and we condemn violence at home and abroad and its exportation,” he said.

On Sunday, First Lady Grace Mugabe reportedly battered and whipped a 20-year-old South African woman, Gabriella Engels, an act which some have regarded as an exportation of violence by the Zimbabwean leader’s wife. – NewsDay