04-21-17 by Spotlight Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s Opposition Unites Against Mugabe

Sebastian Mhofu

HARARE-In Zimbabwe, the opposition formed two new alliances in the past 24 hours to challenge the country’s longtime leader President Robert Mugabe in the 2018 polls.

Zimbabwe’s top opposition leaders, former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and former Vice President Joice Mujuru, signed a coalition agreement late Wednesday.

Tsvangirai brings with him a large, well-established opposition party, while Mujuru, a former top Mugabe ally, brings with her defectors from the ruling Zanu-PF.

Tsvangirai spoke at the signing, but didn’t say who would be the coalition flag bearer in next year’s presidential race.

“We shall drive a comprehensive democratization and transformation agenda,” he said. “Similar arrangements shall be entered into with other political formations, and we will inform you as it happens.”

Tsvangirai signed another agreement Thursday with a fellow longtime opposition leader, Welshman Ncube, healing a 10-year rift between the two men.

FILE - Pastor Evan Mawarire is seen in a vehicle after being freed on bail in Harare, Zimbabwe, Feb. 9, 2017. (S. Mhofu/VOA)

FILE – Pastor Evan Mawarire is seen in a vehicle after being freed on bail in Harare, Zimbabwe, Feb. 9, 2017. (S. Mhofu/VOA)

Meanwhile, civil society activist and Christian pastor, Evan Mawarire, the leader of the country’s #ThisFlag movement, has been called to appear Friday in Harare Magistrate Court.

Mawarire led several anti-government protests in 2016, calling for action on human rights abuses and the worsening economy. Mawarire was arrested in January, accused of subversion and insulting the national flag.

On Thursday, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s regional director for southern Africa, said the state should drop all charges.

“The Zimbabwean authorities want to make an example out of Pastor Evan Mawarire to send a clear message to anyone who dares dissent,” Muchena said.

Muchena said the government is using the criminal justice system to harass and silence peaceful activists.

The acting prosecutor general, Ray Goba, dismissed allegations of persecution at Mawarire’s last court appearance in February, saying the courts would settle the matter.

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  • Zimbabweans are becoming masters at answering the question they wanted asked and NOT the tough question before them and make a big song and dance about their solution.

    During the GNU the tough task before the nation and MDC was to implement the democratic reforms to stop Zanu PF rigging the elections and thus a repeat of the 2008 elections. SADC, who were the guarantor of the agreement that created the GNU tries their best to get Tsvangirai and his MDC friends to focus on the task on hand but failed. Tsvangirai & co. pick the easier task of drafting a new constitution, they were more interested in the generous allowance than doing anything useful.

    In the end the new constitution was “dictated” by President Mugabe as Zanu PF MP on the drafting committee later boasted. Tsvangirai boasted that it was an “MDC child” and made a big ado about how it was going to deliver all our freedoms and rights including free and fair elections. That did not happen of course as Zanu PF went on to rig the 2013 elections.

    The same reforms are still the task on hand but of course implementing them post 2013 is even tougher than during the GNU, ten times as hard. Instead on putting their backs on the wheel the opposition are once again off at a tangent. They have spent the last four years talking about forming an opposition coalition although it will do nothing to stop the vote rigging. They are once again making a big song and dance about it!

    With no reforms in place Zanu PF will once again rig the elections. Implementing the reforms after that will be even tougher that it is now, another ten times as hard.

    We have not learned anything from our past mistakes; you hit the iron whilst it is hot; a stitch in time saves ten; etc.!