Zimbabwe

PIC: This photo is giving hope to Mugabe opponents

2017-03-23 06:03
Morgan Tsvangirai. (File: AP)

Morgan Tsvangirai. (File: AP)

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Harare - Could this be the beginning of something positive for Zimbabwe's horribly fractured opposition?

Opposition supporters in Zimbabwe have welcomed a snap of two rival leaders who appeared to be sharing a joke at a protest rally in the capital Harare on Wednesday.

The photo shows Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai (in the dashiki shirt) with former finance minister Tendai Biti (in yellow).

Once Tsvangirai's right-hand man, Biti was expelled from the MDC in 2014. He went on to found the People's Democratic Party, one of many opposition parties in a country that's been under the iron rule of President Robert Mugabe since independence in 1980. The pair have previously exchanged bitter words.

There's growing pressure for Zimbabwe's opposition leaders to form a coalition to increase the chance of pushing Mugabe out of power in polls in 2018. Analysts say that up until now a 'Big Man' syndrome in Zimbabwean opposition parties has been a stumbling block to coalition-building and leadership renewal.

Tweeted journalist Hopewell Chin'ono: "Hopefully a new beginning and the building of bridges. There is less that separates these two men than that which binds them."

See picture below

Said @D_Nyambiya: "@BitiTendai & @mrtsvangirai UNITED FRONT, I SALUTE U 4 Putting Interests of the Nation First".

UK-based law lecturer Alex Magaisa said in a tweet: "It's a positive sign." 

Note that Biti has not formally announced that he will throw his weight behind Tsvangirai. But he did retweet tweets welcoming the photo of him with the MDC chief.

In another sign that opposition leaders may be more willing to unite, former Mugabe ally Didymus Mutasa said at Wednesday's rally that he wanted Tsvangirai to lead a coalition to win the 2018 elections. Crucially former VP Joice Mujuru - who is also an opposition leader these days - has not said she will support the MDC leader. She was not at Wednesday's rally.

Billed as a march before police banned marching in Harare's central business district, the rally was held to voice opposition parties' combined disapproval of the Mugabe government's insistence on taking charge of the procurement of biometric voter registration kits needed to draw up a new electoral roll.

The Zimbabwe government has gone back on a decision to allow the UNDP to procure the kits.

Read more on:    mdc  |  morgan tsvangirai  |  joice mujuru  |  robert mugabe  |  tendai biti  |  didymus mutasa  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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