Mugabe's party 'not threatened' by Zimbabwe opposition pact - pro-govt papers

2017-04-23 22:00
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

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Harare - President Robert Mugabe's party does not feel threatened by moves to form an election coalition, state-controlled papers say.

Main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed pacts with former vice president Joice Mujuru and the leader of another small party, Welshman Ncube, this week as the first step towards building a coalition seeking to unseat long-time ruler Mugabe in elections next year.

The move has been greeted with cautious optimism by critics of Mugabe, who have seen Tsvangirai and his party lose - sometimes narrowly - almost all elections since the Movement for Democratic Change was formed in 1999 (the MDC did win a majority of seats in parliament in 2008 polls).

But those loyal to Mugabe are shrugging off the threat a united front could pose to his 37-plus years in power.

A "full spectrum of positives"

The state-owned Chronicle says Zimbabweans have been getting a "full spectrum of positives" from Mugabe's government since independence in 1980 - things like education, healthcare and dignity, shareholder trusts and support for farmers under the command agriculture scheme. 

"Zanu-PF is a party that is rightly beholden to the electorate and does not waste its time wanting to please foreigners," the Bulawayo-based paper said in an editorial this weekend. 

"If Zanu-PF had ended there and folded its arms basking in old glory (of the liberation war), coalitions like the one Mr Tsvangirai et al are working on could have posed an electoral threat to the party," it said.

Gullible opposition

Writing in the pro-Mugabe Sunday Mail, columnist Vukani Madoda said erstwhile supporters of the opposition are no longer "gullible". Countering accusations that Zanu-PF has used violence to win elections, Madoda said, "It is the opposition and its facets that are prone to political prostitution, violence and cowardice".

Around 200 opposition supporters were killed after Mugabe lost the first round of presidential elections in March 2008 (he went on to claim victory in a second round of polling). About seven supporters of Zanu-PF were also killed.

Huge pile of zeros

Mugabe hasn't yet reacted publicly to news of the coalition but he did suggest in February that a coalition of opposition parties here could never be more than a "huge pile of zeros".

Read more on:    zanu -pf  |  mdc  |  morgan ­tsvangirai  |  joice mujuru  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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