Two of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s chief rivals said on Wednesday they were allying to deny the incumbent and his ruling ZANU PF party, another term in office.
Morgan Tsvangirai, 65, who was Zimbabwe’s prime minister in an uneasy coalition government with Mugabe from 2009 until 2013, said he and Joice Mujuru, who was Mugabe’s vice president, would seek to form a coalition government to bring political change.
“This is just the beginning of the building blocks toward establishing a broad alliance to confront ZANU PF between now and the next election in 2018,” Tsvangirai said.
At 93, Mugabe is the oldest African leader. In December his ZANU PF party confirmed him as its candidate for the next presidential election expected in mid-2018.
Tsvangirai, said he expected similar deals to the one with Mujuru would be struck with other political groups.
He now leads the MDC-T party – a faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) – 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 political party in March last year, said the 2 parties had worked on the agreement for the last 6 months and would now start negotiating specific details to strengthen their alliance.
The turmoil within the opposition has been a boost for Mugabe, whose party has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.
Zimbabwe’s economy stagnated last year following a devastating drought while its budget deficit exploded as Mugabe’s administration struggled to pay its workers, which helped fan anti-government protests.