Democratic Union Formed in Zimbabwe
Two breakaway factions of Zimbabwe’s main Movement for Democratic Change party officially signed a unity pact on Wednesday, coming together under a new movement dubbed the Democratic Union.
The two factions are those set up by former MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube and former finance minister in Zimbabwe’s 2009-13 coalition government, Tendai Biti.
“We have done the first part of the reunification exercises. We have heard speeches from both political parties, so we are just waiting for the signing ceremony now,” former MDC MP Pishai Muchauraya told a Sapa correspondent in Harare.
Ncube broke away from Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC in 2005, while Biti and other veteran MDC politicians parted company with Tsvangirai earlier this year to form another splinter group, the MDC Renewal Team.
Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu PF party has split into factions after President Robert Mugabe removed Joice Mujuru, his vice president and a front-runner to succeed him, from power.
Mrs Mujuru, 59, fought for independence alongside Mr Mugabe and spent 10 years in the second most powerful political office in the country.
She is widely believed to have been removed after Mr Mugabe’s wife Grace launched a surprise political career and formed an alliance with the other pretender to the presidency, the shadowy former defence and now justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Analysts say Mr Mnangagwa, who is locally nicknamed The Crocodile and thought to have masterminded a massacre of tens of thousands of Mr Mugabe’s political opponents in the 1980s, has made a deal with Mrs Mugabe to take over and protect her family and the sizeable assets it has built up after the nonagenarian leader dies.
Mrs Mujuru was popular within the party and along with her senior leaders, including at least six government ministers, have been purged, with others still vulnerable in a cabinet where an estimated half openly supported the former vice-president.
OPPOSITION MDC-T activist and former St Mary’s legislator Job Sikhala who was arrested early Wednesday at Beitbridge border post has been moved to Harare with indications he is likely to be charged with attempting to overthrow the government.
The opposition party’s secretary general, Douglas Mwonzora, told New Zimbabwe.com that Sikhala who had arrived in Harare and locked up at the Law and Order Section had by Thursday afternoon been “cynically moved to the homicide section”.
“I have been able to talk to him over the phone and we are battling to get access to him. One of our lawyers Charles Kwaramba (a human rights attorney) is trying to get to him,” said Mwonzora.
“He (Sikhala) has since been moved to the Homicide Section but we are still not sure what charges they would want to prefer against him.
“It appears though that they want to charge him with trying to overthrow the government. We are not sure how he is alleged to have sought to achieve that.”