MDC leader Welshman Ncube Monday rejected maneouvers by the MDC-T to forge an election pact ahead of next year’s polls and took a swipe at Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for calling him a “village politician”.
MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti at the weekend said his party was eager to see opposition parties forming an electoral pact to unseat President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.
Biti told New Zimbabwe.com in England that Tsvangirai’s failure to win the Presidency in the last elections was due to the failure to work with Ncube’s party.
But Ncube — who says he was disappointed by the collapse of talks to re-unite the MDC formations on the eve of the 2008 polls — appeared to take offence at Tsvangirai’s recent statements dismissing him as a village politician.
“How can villagers unite with royalty? Tsvangirai said we are villagers a few days back and he is royalty,” Ncube, who is also the Minister of Industry and Trade, quipped when asked about Biti's call.
“We are MDC and we won’t have pacts. We stand alone because what we stand for is different from what other parties stand for.”
Last Friday, Ncube told NewsDay that a “genetic predisposition for hatred of a group of people” inspired Tsvangirai’s attacks against him.
The PM told his supporters in Lupane recently that Ncube was a regional leader and he should rise above that if he entertained any hopes of being President of this country.
“As a matter of fact, we are working throughout the country, every village, every district,” Ncube said.
“He (Tsvangirai) is misinformed when he says we are only having meetings in Matabeleland North. When we held our congress we said we would cover everywhere, every river, as long as it is within our boundaries.
“Those who want can wallow in the self-delusion that this is not what we are doing. Let’s wait for election day.”
He said the MDC was holding rallies in other parts of the country besides Matabeleland.
“There are people who like to speak more about the individual than the subject,” Ncube said.
“There are some people who have an inherent hatred for a particular group of people. They cannot see that we are everywhere. When they look at Ncube they don’t see a Zimbabwean, but a Matabele.”
He said some people did not believe a Ndebele should “aspire for national office”.
“It is bigotry,” Ncube said.
He said other than “bigotry”, it was difficult to imagine why he was being blocked from being one of the principals in the inclusive government.
The Southern African Development Community — which is one of the guarantors of the Global Political Agreement which gave birth to the inclusive government — recognises Ncube as a principal.
On Twitter, Ncube said although belittled, his party had a “genuine” chance of winning next year’s harmonised elections beyond the Matabeleland region that is viewed as its stronghold.
In a series of tweets in response to a question on his party’s chances, Ncube said the MDC had grown nearly three times from the last election.
“We had 10% of the vote (in the last election),” he said. “All would agree we have grown since then, perhaps doubled or tripled. The previous election had the lowest voter turnout, and many didn’t even know basics like who MDC or MDC-T was.
“All that considered, one can easily conclude our current support is between 30 and 35%, or even more. On the other hand, most people would agree both Zanu PF and MDC-T have lost support.
“So they could be anywhere between 30 and 40%.
“Either way, there is only a few percentage points difference between MDC, MDC-T and Zanu PF. So only a few percentage points will decide who wins or is part of the runoff and things can still change before elections.
“We genuinely think we have a good shot at winning that election.”
Ncube added that inviting Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to lead the MDC was a mistake.