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Zimbabwe opposition parties to decide coalition leader by end of this month

Zimbabwe’s opposition parties have agreed to iron out sticky issues about who will lead their proposed coalition by the end of this month, according to The Standard.

The paper said modalities of working as a coalition will be outlined by end of July while the coalition is expected to be on the ground to start the 2018 elections campaign in August.

It is not yet clear how the leader of the coalition will be elected but Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai is reported to have offered suggestions which include selecting the leader or contesting the post through an election.

The paper said more than 20 parties under Zimbabwe National Electoral Reform Agenda met in Harare last Thursday to work on a roadmap on how to form a new all-inclusive grand coalition.

It said Tsvangirai leads the diplomatic committee, Mujuru (political), ZAPU leader Dumiso Dabengwa (strategy),  Marceline Chikasha (women) and People Democratic Party leader Tendai Biti (legal).

The coalition leader will be facing Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leader Robert Mugabe who is the party’s presidential candidate.

ZANU-PF has already launched its election campaign with youth rallies that Mugabe is addressing.

He kicked off the campaign in Marondera last week.

Tsvangirai is under pressure from his supporters to lead the coalition or abandon it because, they claim, he does not need the others since he beat Mugabe alone in March 2008 before pulling out of the June 2008 elections run-off.

Tsvangirai lost dismally in 2013 but attributed this to rigging though analysts say this was because his party had failed to deliver during the transitional government and also because of the 2008 violence that led to his pulling out.

The Solidarity Peace Trust says the opposition could have won 17 more seats in 2013 if they had not divided their vote.

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