Harare – Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party led by Morgan Tsvangirai has dismissed a “grossly false” report that it is working on plans to create a transitional government with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to steer the country in a post-Mugabe era.
In a statement, the party said Tsvangirai last met Mnangagwa four years ago, and that his party only supports democratically-elected governments.
“President Tsvangirai and the party he leads will never be party to any government formed outside elections,” the MDC leader’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka said.
On Tuesday, Reuters published a “special report” citing Zimbabwean intelligence documents that claimed Mnangagwa wanted to co-operate with Tsvangirai in a transitional government for five years in the event President Robert Mugabe dies or steps down.
The news agency said this arrangement could circumvent the need for elections and had “the tacit backing of some of Zimbabwe’s military and Britain”.
But Tsvangirai refuted the report. “Any purported deal outside elections and involving diplomats, the military and other such characters will not be legitimate and will not rescue Zimbabweans from their current predicament,” said Tsvangirai’s spokesperson.
“While stability is important, President Tsvangirai and the MDC have always placed a far much higher premium on legitimacy and democracy.”
Zanu-PF factional wars
Mnangagwa is said to lead a faction within the ruling party vying to muscle its way up the succession ladder, so that he can take over after Mugabe. He is opposed by a group of younger officials aligned to First Lady Grace Mugabe.
“The MDC is not and will not be party to the Zanu-PF factional wars,” the MDC statement added.
The British embassy in Harare has also dismissed claims it is backing any such coalition.
A British embassy spokesperson told News24: “The British ambassador to Zimbabwe has never attempted to promote the idea of a Vice President Mnangagwa-Tsvangirai coalition. The UK does not back any party, candidate, faction or coalition in Zimbabwe.”
Zimbabwe is set to hold elections mid-2018. Tsvangirai’s MDC party is leading efforts to forge an alliance of opposition parties to challenge Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party as united front.
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