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Tsvangirai, Ncube: Zim’s strange bedfellows

THE two MDC formations share more in common and should agree on an electoral pact to face Zanu PF as a united front in the harmonised elections, analysts have said.


The Constitutional Court recently ruled that elections should be held by July 31 this year to end the life of the inclusive government formed in 2009.

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai said last week that he was open to a united front to fight Zanu PF candidate President Robert Mugabe in the make or break polls.

Tsvangirai spoke after the parties had met to resist the holding of elections without the completion of reforms.

But Welshman Ncube, the leader of the smaller MDC formation, told our sister paper, The Zimbabwe Independent that he had “said it over and over again that we are not getting into any coalition with the MDC-T”.

In the past, Ncube had accused MDC-T of getting into bed with Zanu PF to deny him a place on the principals’ table, after Sadc had recognised the MDC leader as a principal instead of deputy premier Arthur Mutambara.

“We now have an alliance between Tsvangirai and Mugabe which also must mean that we now have an alliance between Zanu PF and MDC-T which is working tirelessly against the MDC that I lead,” Ncube has said in the past.

Are the two MDC formations ideologically poles apart or are there personality clashes between Ncube and Tsvangirai?

Dumisani Nkomo of the Habakkuk Trust said the two MDCs were not ideologically poles apart.

“I think they have more in common than that which divides them. Even in a church, you find some people who sin. One shouldn’t expect that parties are made up of angels,” Nkomo said.

He attributed the reluctance by Ncube for a pact with the mainstream MDC to historical issues and personality differences.

Nkomo said MDC felt let down by MDC-T when there were attempts to unite the two parties ahead of the 2008 harmonised elections. He said Zimbabweans should not read too much into Ncube’s declaration “as in politics, everything is possible”.

“They [MDC] might be trying to build leverage, but it is important for the parties to consider an electoral pact where they agree on one Presidential candidate and one candidate for each constituency. It should not be a big brother-small brother approach but a win-win situation,” Nkomo said.


Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director, McDonald Lewanika said the current electoral map based on 2008 results seems to suggest that Tsvangirai cannot win the first round without Ncube’s votes.

“More than personal gripes or revenge, I think Ncube’s reluctance to talk of a pact now, is based on a power equation. Whatever is perceived as power now and Ncube’s votes now, if they are retained in an election with no clear winner, they quadruple in value,” he said.

Lewanika said Ncube has no real choice than to eventually get into a political bed with Tsvangirai.

“The price of doing that [Ncube agreeing to a coalition with Tsvangirai] is lower now because of the stakes, and will be higher just before an election or in a run- off scenario,” Lewanika said.

Ideologically compatible parties needed

Political analyst, Shakespeare Hamauswa said there was a possibility of a coalition between the MDC formations since they united against Zanu PF over the court ruling. However, for that to happen, Hamauswa said, compromises should be made.

On the coalition between Mugabe and Tsvangirai to deny Ncube a place on the principals’ table, Hamauswa said on reflection Ncube “will realise that it was not necessarily that he didn’t attend because of Tsvangirai but that he had created a monster in Arthur Mutambara”.

He said the political parties have learnt from history what mistakes they have made and have an opportunity to correct them.

In the 2008 elections MDC threw its weight behind independent candidate Simba Makoni.

Tsvangirai got 44,87% of the votes, which were inadequate to secure him the presidential post.

Mugabe got 43,24% while Makoni managed 8,31%.

Had the two formations entered into a coalition, Tsvangirai would have smiled all the way to State House.

Oxford University lecturer, Phillan Zamchiya, said there were key determinants to the formation of a pre-electoral pact and the question was whether these were strongly present in Zimbabwe or not.

Zamchiya said for a coalition to happen, there is need for ideologically compatible parties. He said the two MDC formations are compatible ideologically and very little separates them.

If the electoral threshold to form a government are high, Zamchiya said, parties are encouraged to form a pact.

“In Zimbabwe it is high, you need 50% plus one vote to be President,” he said.

Zamchiya said if political parties have asymmetrical electoral regional strength, then a coalition was more likely and this is moreso if there are trends of identity-based voting rather than issue-based voting.

“The 2008 election shows us MDC-N had support in Matabeleland South and MDC-T in other provinces,” he said.

He said what threatens the coalition is that the parties have asymmetrical electoral strengths. He said the MDC-T had a broader support base compared to MDC-N, adding that it would have been easier if they had relatively the same electoral strength.

Zamchiya said what threatens the coalition was an element of proportional representation, “so smaller parties can thrive without an electoral pact”.

12 Responses to Tsvangirai, Ncube: Zim’s strange bedfellows

  1. Kufandada June 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    Ncube also wants power.Why should he be used to make Tsvangirai the President of Zimbabwe.

    That is what he is thinking,and he wants to split the vote,get his 5 seats in Matabeleland and then use his 5 seats to leverage power in parliament.

    It is a gamble.Most likely Tsvangirai will this time around obtain 55% and can form the government (and rule) without need to have a coalition with anyone.

    If I was Tsvangirai,I would offer Ncube and Misihairambwi 2 cabinet posts to keep them quiet.

    No party will obtain 67%.Therefore MDC-T will need ZanuPF more than MDC-N if it wants to make any changes to the Constitution.

    Ncube is likely to be confined to permanent opposition,whereas if he joined hands with MDC-T now,he could leverage his position and remain of influence in cabinet.

    My advice to Ncube is to be a champions for Zimbabweans,rather than a champion for Matabeleland.Join hands with MDC-T.

  2. Moses Musarurwa June 9, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    It is cheap politicking for Ncube to say “We now have an alliance between Tsvangirai and Mugabe which also must mean that we now have an alliance between Zanu PF and MDC-T which is working tirelessly against the MDC that I lead,”

    Civilised people have to meet even where there are differences, so for him to take the meetings that are held between Mugabe and Tsvangirai as President and Vice-President of the country respectively as an alliance is childish.

    Grow up Professor Ncube

  3. chimwango June 9, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    No one should force Ncube into the coalition if he does not want to work with others to remove the dictator.But other parties should join with Tsvangirai so that we remove the monster .We will get enough votes to avoid a rerun without the involvement of NCUBE who has taken himself to be special.

  4. welly mpofu June 9, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    Prof Ncube should be able to read between the lines.Real pwr that he´s looking for in matabeleland is rather elusive~better win the hearts of all the zimbos inc those in the mdc~t.If only the learned prof can listen to the voice of wisdom&get onboard the train of change!!!!!

  5. Dare June 9, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    Kufandada, this party is much more than Ncube and Misihairambwi. For Tsvangirai to promise those two cabinet posts and expect that will satisfy them is a fallacy. a gross insult to the intelligence of Zimbabweans. As for you Moses, where was your so called “civilisation” when Mugabe and Tsvangirai plainly ignored the SADC resolutions. You are the one who should grow up Moses. wake up and smell the coffee.

    Ncube if you do unite with Tsvangirai, then that will be the end of your political career.

    Ncube you should go at it alone as agreed at the Party Congress.

    Stick to your guns Ncube and there is no reason why you should make another person a President when you a Leader of your own party.

  6. tsoka June 9, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    Ncube aint nothing but a ‘village’ politician regardless of the fact that at the break up of the MDC he commanded more MPs that MT. The 16 MPs he got were a fluke. The people of Matabeleland hate their own and would rather vote for MT. The MDCT has done so much for Mat and we saw Mat politicians in the MDCT being given very important ministerial positions. The women of Mat love the fact that one of their own was not treated badly by MT. In the age of devolution surely MT will play a more significant role in uniting uMthwakazi that is if he knows what that is given his propensity to speak in isiTshabi even right in the middle of rural Matebeleland. You see MT is not taking abafo for granted, that is why he wont need the Mthwakazi vote.

  7. topheavy June 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Its senseless for Tsvangirai to acquire excellence in dishing out insults to others instead of exhibiting qualities of a true leader, a unifier. ”Village politician” is not appropriate language for you Mr. future President. True, you command the majority of the electorate today, but you require an absolute majority to unseat Mugabe. You need Ncube, Mr PM, so brave up and talk to him for the good of the country. Show some diplomacy sir, as is required of a future statesman and approach Ncube personally than to invite him in the press, its un respectful.
    Professor Ncube, you may get your percentage of the electorate, but that alone will confine you to opposition politics and we will always wonder what would have become of Ziscosteel if you had been there to finish the deal. Egos get inflated but wisdom demands that we contain them and keep them in check, lest they lead us into oblivion. Unless you are influenced by personal gain, we hope you find room to accommodate people s aspirations and talk to Morgan for the good of our great country. We have been in the wilderness too long and need rescuers not personality cults. You could talk to Mugabe to form the GNU, but are too proud to talk to Tsvangirai to form a formidable force to kick oppression out.

    • General Pancho Villa June 10, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

      And what did uNcube said about MT or even RGM?

    • chindori chinyika June 14, 2013 at 10:29 am #

      Tsvsngirai is the worst dictator than his uncle Bob. Last elections he refused to sign a coalition pact by opposition parties. He is an uneducated, dull and dangerous dictator. He doesn’t respect thus why he goes around impregnating our sisters more than bringing development to communities. He is an advocate of gays and lesbians for the sake of pleasing his British and American masters. In brief Tsvangirai is not a presidential material. It will be a political blunder to have Tsvangirai in the state house.

  8. John ndaba June 12, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    The people of Zimbabwe have had enough of Zanu-pf abususive rule. The majority of them want Zanu-pf out of power at all costs. To those two Mdc political parties, I beg them to think and take that into account when they make decisions. The future of Zimbabwe is more important than that of individuals. Please, do swallow your pride and do the right thing. Once again, I beg you bafowethu. Also remember that there is no permanent enemy in politics.

  9. chindori chinyika June 14, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Its not a matter of Zanu PF, but its a matter of having good governance in Zimbabwe, of which Tsvangirai is not the solution. A winner take all will be a disaster in Zimbabwe, because it will create a one party state and misrule for donkey years. The best thing to have in Zimbabwe is a multiparty state where by leadership is shared, and bills passed in parliament after thorough debates and deliberations, than being passed after a party that commands majority sings a stupid song and passes a useless and regressive bill. Tsvangirai is not fit to lead Zimbabwe. At this moment we need combined leadership with Welshman at the top as a dynamic leader who represents generational change in Zimbabwe.

  10. mandla June 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    Both MDC formations should join forces to oust the common enermy of the pple of Zimbabwe.The 2 leaders should put their personal ambitions after the country’s needs not their own.They must win together & lead the country together.You are our leaders guys,the coutry’s looking forward on your coalition to win these elections by landslide victory.Ncube is not a village politician but a true leader of Zim politics.Even if Tsvangirai is not educated he was brave enough to launch the MDC when the educated ones where there as cowards.So these two leaders must unite for common goal of emancipating Zimbabwe.United MDC is the way!!!

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