HARARE, ZIMBABWE — Two political parties in Zimbabwe have endorsed Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for president. The parties have promised a unity government after the elections set for July 31.
On Monday, a former finance minister and former close ally of President Robert Mugabe - Simba Makoni - said he had formed a “coalition of change” with Tsvangirai and another political party, with the goal of defeating Mugabe in the July 31 elections.
"The parties now call upon like-minded organizations and all Zimbabweans to join in or rally in this coalition for change in order to achieve real freedom, justice happiness and prosperity under a new dispensation for all," said Makoni.
The decision to form a coalition is probably a lesson learned from the 2008 presidential election, where Tsvangirai fell short of a majority in the first-round vote. In that election Simba Makoni got nine percent of the presidential election vote.
At the launch his election bid on Sunday, Tsvangirai said he would contest the July 31 election, despite not being happy with the lack of democratic reforms in the African country.
On Monday he addressed the topic again.
"I think the national mood is that, 'Let us go in.' The people are determined, in spite of the obstacles. This is a democratic struggle, and the people know that their journey in achieving democracy has not been easy especially, when you are faced with tyrannical and dictatorial conditions. How do you remove a dictator using democratic means? It is not easy; it is not going to be easy. But we have faith in the confidence that has been expressed nationally. It is on that basis that we go in," said Tsvangirai.
So it is "game on" in Zimbabwe’s elections, but the treasury does not yet have the estimated $132 million needed to fund the polls.
Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Biti said Mugabe has to push for diamond-mining companies to release proceeds of the sales of their precious stone if the African country is to have funds for the polls.
The polls will mark the end of the power-sharing government that Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed after the disputed 2008 elections.
Mugabe claimed victory in the second round, but African leaders called unacceptable the violence that claimed the lives of about 200 Tsvangirai supporters.