Tsvangirai back in driving seat as opposition close ranks

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai is back in the driving seat after a month’s health sabbatical and will today chair a crucial MDC Alliance meeting to review the ongoing biometric voter registration process and establish committees to operationalise the opposition coalition.


The Alliance leadership yesterday also engaged foreign diplomats to update them on developments in the country, as the coalition leaves no stone unturned in its bid to dislodge President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF from power in next year’s crunch elections.

MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu yesterday confirmed Tsvangirai, who has been out of action for a month to recover from cancer of the colon, would chair today’s meeting.

“It’s the first meeting in a while and Tsvangirai will chair it as the leader of the Alliance. I am not at liberty to go into the details or the venue of the meeting,” he said.

However, an informed source told NewsDay the meeting would finalise the setting-up of Alliance committees.

“The meeting’s main agenda is filling-in of the 15 committees that will spearhead the implementation and operations of the Alliance. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), led by Tendai Biti, is expected to finally formally sign a memorandum of understanding to join the alliance,” a source said.

“The meeting will review the progress in biometric voter registration, particularly in urban areas, and look at ways on how it can energise voters in cities and towns and, more particularly, the youths to go and register as

Biti was yesterday warmly welcomed at Harvest House by MDC-T supporters when he made an impromptu visit in the company of MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora.

The MDC Alliance is composed of MDC-T, the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, Jacob Ngarivhume’s Transform Zimbabwe, Agrippa Mutambara’s Zimbabwe People First and other smaller parties.

Alliance spokesman Ngarivhume also confirmed the meeting.

“The Alliance is holding a meeting tomorrow (today) in the capital Harare. Details of the issues discussed and agreed will be released to the public after that meeting,” he said.

The Alliance partners’ delegation that met diplomats was composed mainly of former MDC secretary-generals.

The delegation included, among others, Mwonzora, Biti, Ncube and PDP’s Willias Madzimure.

An insider in the Alliance confirmed delegates from the parties forming the coalition met foreign diplomats in the capital.

“The Alliance, among other duties, has to engage with the diplomatic community and international partners to update them on developments in Zimbabwe, as we approach the 2018 elections,” the source said.

The Alliance is seen by many political pundits as the only option to bring down the faction-riddled Zanu PF and Mugabe, who have been ruling the country for the past 37 years.

Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s National People’s Party is also expected to launch its own rival alliance to contest the 2018 polls with the PDP faction led by Lucia Matibenga.

Mujuru has not agreed with Tsvangirai on joining the MDC Alliance over the name of the coalition and seats distribution matrix.

Another grouping, the Coalition for Democrats, yesterday selected Elton Mangoma of Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe as its presidential candidate. – NewsDay