Ousted ex-president Robert Mugabe is plotting to take the gap opened by the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to engineer a political comeback.
As Tsvangirai lay ill in an SA hospital in late January Mugabe allegedly sought a meeting with Thokozani Khupe an MDC deputy.
Mugabe offered Khupe a spot as one of the vice presidents in the outfit that he was planning – now known as New Patriotic Front.
The overture was a bid to take advantage of the MDC power vacuum caused by Tsvangirai’s illness.
It is seen as a move to bolster the deposed president’s attempts to put together an opposition coalition to take on ED at this year’s elections, sources told the Sunday Times.
Mugabe’s attempts to hold talks with Khupe came shortly before he met Joice Mujuru, leader of the NPP at his blue roof mansion in Borrowdale on the 27th of January.
When Mugabe met Mujuru who is also leader of the Rainbow Coalition, the ex president sought to buy her in for the idea if a united opposition under his leadership.
He has been increasingly associated with the newly formed NPF headed by Ambrose Mutinhiri who resigned from Zanu Pf.
Piers Pigou, the International Crisis Group director for Southern Africa says Mugabe’s presence in the opposition ranks would complicate ED’s election plans.
“This of course will benefit the opposition but much depends on the nature of the support he lends and whether he is truly prepared to campaign against Zanu Pf, the party he dedicated over 50 years of his life to, said Pigou.
“Without the benefits of incumbency and related institutional bias, he will struggle to get his message out to the majority of voters”
Mujuru, Khupe and MDC VP Elias Mudzuri, as well as officials from PDP and other coalition democrats met in Cape Town for a Workshop shortly before Tsvangirai’s death on the 14th of February.
It was meant to be an exercise in sharing lessons from African countries where coalitions have won elections.
Responding to Sunday Times this week Khupe said she ‘was in Nkayi’ and the cellphone reception was poor. Later she said she would make a big announcement today.
Sources believe Khupe is likely to unveil a split from the MDC, which has endorsed the third co-vice president Nelson Chamisa as it’s interim president for the next 12 months.
– Sunday Times