Two Zim opposition factions unite to form Democratic Union



Two breakaway factions of Zimbabwe’s main Movement for Democratic Change party officially signed a unity pact on Wednesday, coming together under a new movement dubbed the Democratic Union.

The two factions are those set up by former MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube and former finance minister in Zimbabwe’s 2009-13 coalition government, Tendai Biti.

“We have done the first part of the reunification exercises. We have heard speeches from both political parties, so we are just waiting for the signing ceremony now,” former MDC MP Pishai Muchauraya told a Sapa correspondent in Harare.

Ncube broke away from Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC in 2005, while Biti and other veteran MDC politicians parted company with Tsvangirai earlier this year to form another splinter group, the MDC Renewal Team.

Some observers are sceptical about the new party’s chances of success. Both President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and Tsvangirai’s main MDC faction are weakened by infighting but still command support.

David Coltart, a member of Ncube’s MDC, wrote on Facebook on Wednesday that he was happy to be able to work with old colleagues like Biti and Elton Mangoma, former energy minister in the coalition government that ended last year.

“One of my greatest sadnesses when the (first) MDC split occurred in 2005 was that I had to separate from some of my closest friends,” said Coltart, who was not at the ceremony.

“That split was a gift to tyranny and remains so.”

Pictures tweeted from Wednesday’s reunification ceremony in Harare showed Biti, Holland and Ncube and other officials decked in orange and green — the new party’s official colours.


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