Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (L, front) congratulates new Minister of Defeance Emmerson Mnangagwa (R, Up) as Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (Down, C) looks on at the State House in Harare on February 13, 2009. The defence portfolio went to Mnangagwa, seen as the president's right hand, who earned notoriety as the head of state security in the 1980s, when a North Korean-trained army brigade allegedly massacred up to 20,000 suspected dissidents from the minority Ndebele people. His swearing in along with other members of the cabinet in a new national unity government came shortly after fellow ministerial candidate Roy Bennett was arrested. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

Tsvangirai to Face Off Mnangagwa as Grand Coalition Presidential Candidate in 2018

Former prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, is going to square off with vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, in the watershed 2018 presidential elections, Spotlight Zimbabwe revealed on Friday.

According to senior MDC-T officials and a founding elder of ex-VP Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), Tsvangirai is all but assured of leading the grand coalition of opposition parties in the country against Zanu PF in 2018.

Spotlight Zimbabwe, has also been told by the opposition officials in confidentiality, that Tsvangirai and Mujuru are going to make the necessary announcement in due course, as both parties and their emissaries are panel beating a final electoral pact, which could be in place for 10 years until 2028.

“Tsvangirai is going to be our collective candidate for the grand coalition in 2018,” said the ZimPF elder last week. “There are many pressing issues at stake, including the duration of this pact. We are aiming to make it a ten year agreement, with the presidency becoming rotational. This means that Tsvangirai will become president for the first five years, and we expect Amai Mujuru to take over in 2023. The coalition has to pull together to prevent Zanu PF from retaining power any time soon.”

Preliminary secret negotiations, show that Mujuru is content with becoming prime minister in 2018, and then taking over when the presidency pact rotates in 2023, where Tsvangirai is expected to cede power to Mujuru, making her to become Zimbabwe’s first female president in history, should the plan sail through, the MDC-T senior officials involved said.

Zimbabwe’s new Constitution has a five year presidential term, with a two term limit for the incumbent. Tsvangirai it is understood, will only run for the first term and step down due to health concerns. The MDC leader was recently diagnosed of colon cancer, and has been receiving chemotherapeutic treatment in South Africa.

A former diplomatic staffer at the Zimbabwean Embassy in Canada, who now operates a business in Ottawa, said government intelligence had gathered that Mujuru wanted to be the grand coalition presidential candidate, and do her one term before stepping down. The move is said to have been receiving closet support from the west, but there were also fears that Zanu PF under Mnangagwa, could easily rig the elections against Mujuru, unlike if Tsvangirai is to contest the vice president.

“If it was not for rigging fears from an anticipated Mnangagwa 2018 presidential contest, they (Western countries) would have preferred Joice Mujuru to lead the grand coalition,” said the Zimbabwean businessman. “Tsvangirai has prevailed as the best candidate because of having contested Mugabe many times, and actually winning the first round of votes in 2008. The former PM also has grassroots appeal across the country, and more supporters than Mujuru. We are likely to have him (Tsvangirai) as a ceremonial head of State with limited functions, while Mujuru is expected to run government business as premier.”

This publication has it on good account, that the grand coalition, is mooting to have the office of the Prime Minister re-introduced, and that the power sharing between Tsvangirai, Mujuru, and other opposition leaders will give genesis, to the biggest government in the nation’s history.

The PM’s office, has existed on two separate occasions. The first person to hold the position was Mugabe between 1980 -1987 following Independence from Britain. However, the position was was abolished when the constitution was amended in 1987 and Mugabe became President, taking over from Canaan Banana as head of state.

There was restoration of the office in 2009, when Tsvangirai became prime minister under the Government of National Unity (GNU). It was again abolished by the 2013 Constitution, and is poised to return in 2018.

However other political parties are said to be against creation of the PM’s office and a bloated government, which could mean that Tsvangirai and Mujuru will have to rotate power as President and Vice President, another ZimPF insider pointed out.

Sources close to Mujuru, also revealed that ZimPF is likely going to control all security ministries in the new grand opposition coalition-run government expected in 2018, including the secret service.

Tsvangirai is said to be interested in securing control of foreign affairs and economic ministries.

In April 2015, Tsvangirai told thousands of his supporters in Masvingo that he had beaten Mugabe before and was ready to defeat Mnangagwa if he was nominated as a presidential candidate by his party in 2018.

“If they nominate Mnangagwa then my job to lead this country will be made easy because who is Mnangagwa when it comes to elections?” Tsvangirai told the cheering crowd.

The former PM said he was sure of winning presidential elections in 2018 if all electoral reforms were implemented.

“If this is done then I am sure I will win the 2018 elections,” he said.

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