Mugabe loyalists say opposition not a threat in 2018 polls

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe looks on during his inauguration and swearing-in ceremony on August 22, 2013 at the 60,000-seater sports stadium in Harare. Veteran Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was sworn in as Zimbabwe's president for another five-year term before a stadium packed with tens of thousands of jubilant supporters. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

Pro-government outlets in Zimbabwe have dismissed the potency of an opposition coalition set up to retire veteran leader Robert Mugabe from politics come 2018.

Ahead of next year’s highly anticipated polls, main opposition figures – Morgan Tsvangirai and Joyce Mujuru – last week announced a coalition to face Mugabe who has been chosen to represent the ruling Zanu-PF party.

A columnist writing in the Sunday Mail – a pro-Mugabe portal – also described the opposition’s move as ‘gullible.’ According to Vukani Madoda, the opposition and its allies are prone to ‘political prostitution, violence and cowardice.’

93-year-old Mugabe in February this year described an opposition coalition as a ‘huge pile of zeros,’ he has yet to comment on the latest development. The party is also yet to speak on the issue.

The coalition has at its helm, former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and former Vice President Joyce Mujuru. The two signed a deal last week with the leader of a smaller party, Welshman Ncube, reports indicate that other parties are being wooed to be part of the agenda.

Tsvangirai, a three-time loser to Mugabe, said he expected similar deals to the one with Mujuru would be struck with other political groups.

Tsvangirai, who lost the 2013 presidential vote against Mugabe, is now leading MDC-T, a faction of the Movement for Democratic Change, that was formed after the party was weakened by splits over how to confront Mugabe.

The MDC, evicted from the unity government after its crushing defeat in the 2013 election, has been split over whether to dump Tsvangirai before the next vote in 2018.

Mujuru, who formed a new National People’s Party in March last year, said the two parties had worked on the agreement for the last six months and would now start negotiating specific details to strengthen their alliance.