In Zimbabwe, factions of the main opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have begun talks to join forces against President Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party for the upcoming presidential elections. The MDC recently split into two – the Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara factions. Sources say the groups have agreed to endorse Morgan Tsvangirai as a sole opposition candidate to challenge incumbent President Robert Mugabe at the presidential polls. Nelson Chamisa, the spokesman for Tsvangirai's faction, confirmed the on-going talks. From the capital, Harare, Chamisa told VOA that both factions have agreed that the party would be stronger in unity than apart.
“I can’t really say we are at this stage or that stage, but what I can confirm is that the party realizes the importance of a synergy of efforts. They realize the need for making sure that at least there is a unity of purpose, and unity of action in terms of making sure that we liberate our country from the jaws of this tyranny. And that entails making sure that forces face the same direction, and that is what we are currently trying to evolve,” Chamisa said.
He said once the party has been reunited, it would be ready to win power from incumbent President Robert Mugabe.
“I’m glad to say that it is at an advanced stage in terms of making sure that when the elections come, provided it is free and fair elections, we would be able to then participate, and win from the ZANU-PF party as we have always done,” he pointed out.
Chamisa reiterated the need for unity in the opposition MDC.
“You know that there is always strength in unity. In fact we want to make sure that every vote counts and to make sure that every vote counts, we obviously need to make sure that we mobilize our people, we mobilize the leadership, we mobilize all democratic forces in the country and come together to save our country,” he said.
He said the MDC aims at marshalling forces to defeat incumbent President Robert Mugabe.
Zimbabwe is burning under Mugabe’s dictatorship, and what we need to do is to make sure that we bring in a fresh dispensation of democracy, a fresh dispensation of freedom, justice and prosperity and that is only possible when we have achieved a free and fair elections, in the legitimate electoral process, which the elections is supposed to have the confidence and endorsement of all Zimbabweans,” he noted.
Chamisa said MDC partisans understand the circumstances surrounding the temporary split in its ranks.
“The people have never been confused about the direction of their party. The grassroots are not all affected by what happened at the top level, which is a bit artificial and also a boardroom outcome. But certainly in terms of the discourse in the debate within the party, the distracters are also being consulted to hear what their views are in terms of the need for the unity of purpose,” he said.
Chamisa said the unity talks are at an advanced stage.
“We are glad to say that there is no resistance to the need for people to at least have the unity of purpose, but of course the modalities is what is to be discussed and what is expected,” he noted.
He said the MDC would only participate in a free and fair election.
“We have already put forward our precondition, what we agreed to be the minimum condition for free and fair elections. In fact, we have put forward what we believe to be the alternative to the mediator from SADC (Southern African Development Community) President Mbeki…to have a free and fail election. We need an indigenous constitution, which is people driven, which is democratic, and we also need to make sure that there is a reversal of all the legislative nightmares,” he said.