THE two opposition MDC factions are scheduled to meet next week to deliberate on their proposed re-unification in a bid to select a single presidential
candidate, aspiring legislators and councillors to fight President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF in this year’s harmonised polls.
Welshman Ncube, the secretary-general of the Authur Mutambara-led formation, in a telephone interview yesterday said contrary to media reports, the two camps were yet to agree on a presidential candidate.
Reports were that Morgan Tsvangirai was selected by both factions to fight President Robert Mugabe in the presidential poll scheduled for March.
“We should be meeting after January 7 to discuss the issue of the presidential candidate. As for aspiring legislators, our formation has started the nomination process through district party structures in terms of our constitution,” Ncube said.
“Should we re-unite, there will be no automatic retention of sitting members of parliament. Primaries will have to be held.”
However, there were reports that sitting MPs from both formations were agitating for automatic retention, arguing that they would not have finished their terms of office since the current parliament’s term would be cut by two years.
The lawmakers were also reportedly proposing that aspiring legislators should instead contest in new constituencies to be delimitated by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Coalition talks between the two camps collapsed last May over a host of disagreements.
The Tsvangirai camp’s executive recently met and underlined the importance of the re-unification of the two factions arguing that fighting Mugabe and Zanu PF divided would certainly hand the ruling party victory by default.
Sources in both factions said there were also fears that another opposition party could emerge ahead of the elections, something that could further undercut the MDC formations.
When the talks between the MDC factions collapsed, the sticking point was the revision of the coalition agreement, which had become the basis of the negotiations. The selection of parliamentary candidates for each faction was also a divisive issue.
Initially the two had agreed that Tsvangirai would be the candidate in the presidential poll and if they won Mutambara would become his deputy in a coalition government, while they would equitably share government posts.
They had also agreed to not to field candidates against each other where they have sitting MPs.
However, during a May 19 meeting of the two factions, the Tsvangirai camp sought a revision of some of the initial agreements.
The camp wanted Thokozani Khupe, Tsvangirai’s deputy, to become second vice-president with Mutambara.
The Mutambara faction rejected this saying the Tsvangirai camp was trying to maintain its structure in the coalition while neutralising them in the new arrangement.
Furthermore, the Tsvangirai group suggested a new formula of having primary elections between the factions to select parliamentary candidates which was also unacceptable to the Mutambara group.