New political coalition formed in Zimbabwe

Sacked Zimbabwean information minister Jonathan Moyo has been linked to a new coalition of independent candidates that will contest the March general election as a united front.

In a major political development in Zimbabwe, independent candidates expelled from both the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the ruling Zanu-PF party have formed a network likely to transform into a political party if the independents secure more than 10 seats, according to the Zimbabwe Independent.

The coalition includes former Bulawayo MDC councillors Charles Mpofu and Stars Mathe, as well as former Zanu-PF councillors Wilson Bancinyane and Leonard Nkala.

Other independents believed to be part of the network include former MDC MPs Silas Mangono (Masvingo Central), Peter Nyoni (Hwange East), Lloyd Siyoka (the suspended Matabeleland South Zanu-PF provincial chairperson) and Moyo.

Since failing to make it into Zanu-PF’s politburo and the central committee at the party’s December congress, Moyo has intensified efforts to win the Tsholotsho constituency.

However, it could not be confirmed this week whether Moyo has formally joined the group. It could also not be established whether all independent candidates are part of the network.

Sikhumbuzo Ndiweni is a former Zanu-PF provincial information and publicity secretary and the coordinator of the coalition, who will run a secretariat for the Independent Candidates Solidarity Network

“What I can say is that there is such a network, and before the end of this week, a secretariat will be in place. Everything concerning independents in our network will be coordinated from the offices we are establishing,” said Ndiweni.

Although Ndiweni could not confirm whether Moyo is part of the group, sources said Moyo and Siyoka could be the brains behind the coalition.

“The way the new network is so well organised implies that experienced politicians are behind it. Moyo and Siyoka have been mentioned time and again, and the way funding has been quickly sourced for the secretariat raises a lot of questions,” said the source.

However, Ndiweni said: “Everyone is invited in the network and mentioning individuals is not an issue. Whether Moyo is part of the network is neither here nor there.”

He also said the coalition will hold a joint rally at the beginning of March in Bulawayo to launch its election campaign.

“Everything is on course and very soon we will be holding a rally to launch the manifestos for independent candidates. We have been contacting all independent candidates throughout the country to be part of the network and the results are encouraging,” Ndiweni said.

Mpofu is challenging David Coltart and Sithembiso Nyoni in the Bulawayo South constituency, while Mathe will contest in Bulawayo North-East ward against the MDC’s Welshman Ncube and Zanu-PF’s Joshua Malinga. Nkala will contest in Mpopoma, while Bancinyane will stand in Makokoba.—Zimbabwe Independent

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