By Daniel Chigundu
Youth led opposition party Viva Zimbabwe has slammed power hungry opposition political parties for stalling progress on the proposed grand coalition.
Zimbabwean opposition parties are mulling forming a grand coalition to contest against President Robert Mugabe who has led the country since 1980.
The coalition has however faced many challenges ranging from personal dislike among the principals, lack of trust among the parties and wrangling over leadership positions among others.
In an interview, Viva Zimbabwe national spokesperson Patson Mashingaidze said although his party has been invited to the coalition, they are being discouraged by power hungry tendencies being exhibited by bigger opposition parties.
“We are ready for any coalition, yes we have been invited for talks by other political parties, we have a seat at the table and we are working towards its fruitions but there are other things that are holding it back.
“Talks are mired by the bigger opposition parties basically wanting to understand what would happen if the coalition would actually win and then the positions of power, which is again exactly what Viva Zimbabwe has a problem with.
“Zimbabwean opposition parties some of them are more concerned about their stature in their political structure when the coalition has actually come to fruition.
“Viva Zimbabwe is a progressive youth party and we want to be in a coalition with means to better the lives of Zimbabweans, so yes we have been invited, yes we are in talks and we just being delayed by people who are basically power hungry,” he said.
Leading politicians such as Morgan Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru have yet to agree to the coalition as they are both reported aiming to lead the coalition and this has reportedly rendered the current coalition under the banner of Coalition for Democrats (CODE) ineffective.
Viva Zimbabwe came to the political scene late last year and at its first meeting its current chairperson Acie Lumumba courted controversy when he allegedly insulted President Mugabe who turned 93 years this week.
Since then, the youthful outfit has been off the radar and Mashingaidze they are currently working underground on issues to do with encouraging youths to register to vote.
“What we have been up to is that we have started our voter registration campaign going around, we have set teams going in to provinces already and have been there for the past three weeks.
“They are just going down in the rural areas teaching people the importance of voting both youth and even the elderly electorate and we do this as part of our social responsibility and part of what Viva stands for. We want the enlightenment of the society so that we have a better playing ground,” he said.
The Viva Zimbabwe spokesperson added that the key to unlocking a proper political structure in Zimbabwe is giving people an understanding and enlightenment that they are supposed to participate in electoral processes.
According to Mashingaidze, Viva is set to hold its inaugural congress from the 23rd to the 25th of June this year adding that they now command a huge support in Harare and Bulawayo especially among the youthful generation.
Viva Zimbabwe said it was not losing sleep over the new political parties that are coming to the scene almost every day adding that most of them come with certain agendas that might not be as progressive as others and that it is not about starting a political party, but having a political party that has an identity.
Mashingaidze said Viva Zimbabwe is more appealing compared to the new parties as it was a living testimony of the message it is preaching with regards to giving youths a chance to lead.
“Viva Zimbabwe is the first authentically youth led political party, I am the first and youngest national spokesperson of a political party and Viva Zimbabwe has afforded me that chance and showing exactly what we are preaching that youths are not the leader of tomorrow only but are also leaders of today.
“We are not the type of a political party that say come, join us and follow us, we are the type that say come and lead with us, come and take a seat. We are fielding 210 council seats we are going for every parliamentary seat and we are funding it with our meager resources and that is different from other political parties,” Mashingaidze said.
The Acie Lumumba led opposition party also revealed that it was not targeting the presidential seat in 2018 but want to grow on the sidelines before eventually entering the mainstream politics.
Viva Zimbabwe said they support moves by others opposition parties for electoral reforms before 2018 polls, adding that they are the first to have talked about the issue before it was taken up by others.
“In fact we are the loudest when it came to electoral reforms, everyone took it up, it was firstly us, then Zimbabwe People First came on and started putting electoral reforms, some are louder than us seemingly but it was Viva Zimbabwe that actually started the talk about looking really into electoral reforms as opposed to just running into an election,” the party said.
By Daniel Chigundu