OPINION (Zimbabwe Investor) – The Nomination Court sat on Friday and both Welshman Ncube and Tsvangirai of the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) factions were among the five candidates who filed separate candidacy papers putting paid to the idea of a coalition going into the poll.
The leader of the larger faction of the Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had recent weeks made overtures to Welshman Ncube of the smaller faction on the possibility of forming a coalition going into the election to face President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF). Ncube spurned the extend hand consistently argued that the differences that led to the split in 2005 are even deeper and totally irreconcilable.
What the MDCs needed to consider was that the coming together represented more than just the sum of the votes they can acquire as separate entities. There are people who, for lack of belief that the separate MDCs can win the elections on their own, were going to stay away from the ballot box. These people don’t see the point in voting if their vote is going to be split anyway. An election pact between a Tsvangirai and Ncube thus represents an energiser to that voter low on confidence to turn up and cast their vote.
The big threat to the MDC in the forthcoming elections does not come from Zanu (PF) any more than it comes from the failure to find common ground to fight from.
After four years of the inclusive government, it is clear that the MDC brand is not as popular as it was. The four years have been characterised by endless bickering between the partners in government headlined largely by political point scoring with little national interest making the MDC appear far removed from the promise of 13 years ago. While the biggest loser politically of the GNU era appears to be Tsvangirai’s MDC, the party still has the capacity to revitalise itself to its former popularity levels.
The past four years have without a doubt benefited Zanu (PF) whose superior political experience has seen them somewhat reinvented themselves as a party for the masses again. While in the first election since the 2005 split in 2008, the MDC led by Tsvangirai managed to deliver a parliamentary majority, the same cannot be guaranteed in the 2013 election. In the current state of the political landscape, it is totally conceivable that Zanu (PF) can win the upcoming elections purely on the popular vote.
Stakes for the MDCs are so high that reason favoured a coming together of some sort to bolster the changes of unseating President Mugabe.