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Zanu-PF fanning discord in opposition coalition talks

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF is running scared of a possible coalition between longtime rival Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC-T and former Vice-President Joice Mujuru's Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) to the extent of fanning instability, a top opposition official has claimed.

MDC-T secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora described the coalition talks between his party and ZimPF as nearly done, but claimed that "State agents have been planting fake stories" of disagreements and influencing other senior officials to resist the impending alliance.

"They are trying to influence people in both MDC-T and ZimPF to resist the coalition arrangement and they have even started spreading false information about the parties," he said yesterday.

Mwonzora's claims come in the wake of reports that there are simmering tensions within the MDC-T over coalition talks with both ZimPF and the Welshman Ncube-led MDC. The resistance to the coalition talks, according to insiders, is stemming from a fear of losing positions.

Mwonzora said opposition parties in Zimbabwe would not be "deterred" from forming a coalition by "Zanu-PF machinations and acts of sabotage".

"We know they are panicking, but a coalition, we have resolved to have. We are doing what is in the best interests of the country rather than individuals," he said.

Mwonzora said the details of the agreement would be announced "soon" by the party principals at a Press conference.
"The finer details are being worked out. It's as good as done. They are just tying the loose ends and the principals will be announced by the leaders who have shown the statesmanship expected of them," he said.

On talks with Ncube, Mwonzora said: "I'm not sure how far the talks have gone. I am still to get the feedback from the negotiating teams."

An insider in the MDC confirmed the talks and said their counterparts in Coalition of Democrats (Code) — another grouping of opposition parties that does not include Tsvangirai and Mujuru — were aware of the negotiations.

"It is an open secret to our colleagues in Code that we are talking to the MDC-T. They were briefed in meetings that we hold," the insider said.

Political analysts have been on record saying only a broad opposition coalition can defeat Zanu-PF at the ballot, but personality clashes have in the past been the stumbling block to any broad alliance.

Mugabe has scoffed at the possible pact between Mujuru and Tsvangirai saying it would be a coalition of "zero plus zero".

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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