MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai has snubbed an invitation by Zimbabwe People First’s Dr Joice Mujuru for a joint rally at Nyika Growth Point tomorrow in preparation for the Bikita West by-election set for Saturday.
ZimPF is fielding Mr Kudakwashe Gopo, who will battle it out with zanu-pf’s Cde Beauty Chabaya, Mr Madock Chivasa (NCA), Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe’s Mr Terrence Makumbo and Mr Innocent Muzvimbiri, an independent candidate.
Former Bikita West legislator Mr Heya Shoko is also contesting the seat as an independent candidate. The MDC-T and ZimPF are reportedly engaged in coalition talks aimed at fielding a single presidential candidate to face zanu-pf in the 2018 elections.
Failure by the two parties to join forces ahead of the Bikita West by-election is raising doubts about the feasibility of a coalition.
Instead of joining Dr Mujuru on the campaign trail in Bikita West, Mr Tsvangirai has reportedly chosen to embark on a countrywide tour to solicit views of his party’s structures on the proposed coalition with other opposition parties.
MDC-T Masvingo provincial chairman Mr James Gumbi yesterday all, but confirmed that Mr Tsvangirai was not joining Dr Mujuru in her Bikita West rally.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu corroborated Mr Gumbi’s statement saying Mr Tsvangirai was guided by the MDC-T national council resolution.
“We cannot be seen to be blowing hot and cold as a party. That will be a sign of inconsistency. We cannot say we are not participating in elections and then be seen to be supporting a certain candidate in an election,” added Mr Gutu.
ZimPF spokesperson Mr Jealousy Mawarire confirmed that Mr Tsvangirai was not joining Dr Mujuru in Bikita.
“It is not a snub at all. There is no conflict here (between MDC-T and ZimPF). In fact, if you go back to my previous published statement, I made it very clear that the fact that we are in coalition negotiations does not stop individual parties in those negotiations from embarking on party programmes,” he said.
“Party programmes cannot be interfered with because of coalition talks. As ZimPF we have our own party programme at Nyika Growth point in Bikita West tomorrow and we understand the MDC-T have their own programme that is starting in Matabeleland where the party’s leadership will be conscientising their supporters about the ongoing coalition talks between our parties and we feel there is nothing wrong with that. There is no snubbing or conflict here,” said Mr Mawarire.
ZimPF candidate Mr Gopo has been struggling to attract supporters at his rallies.