Madhuku to challenge ED in elections, says not in hurry for State House yet

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NATIONAL Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader Lovemore Madhuku has affirmed his bid to challenge President Emmerson Mnangagwa in elections this year but concedes this was a tall order in the current political landscape still dominated by both Zanu PF and MDC.

Because of that, Madhuku said he would not be in any hurry to go to State House but will use the 2018 political contest to gauge his party’s popularity in the country’s political arena.

“As NCA, I will be contesting as the Presidential candidate. So you will see us more active after April 2018,” he said in an exclusive interview with weekend.

The University of Zimbabwe Constitutional Law Professor admitted chances of eventually becoming State President on his maiden attempt were remained slim as the country’s two political heavyweights still hogged the political space.

He was also adamant they will not be joining any of the multi-party coalitions that have been formed ahead of the polls.

“Our chances are very good. What we are doing is we still know that there are two big political players we are entering the election for purposes of now building our movement.

“Our participation is the beginning of a long political process.

“The NCA will be going it alone. We have made that clear all along.

“We are not in a hurry to get into government but we are in a hurry to make sure that we market our principles.”

Madhuku said his party will be fielding candidates in all the country’s contestable 210 seats.

The NCA broke ranks with the main MDC-T citing their erstwhile ally’s decision 2013 to jump into bed with Zanu PF to craft Zimbabwe’s new constitution during the short tenure of the inclusive government.

Formed as a civic group to press for a new people driven constitution, the NCA argued the decision to allow parliament to lead the process subordinated the citizen’s voice to that of the country’s rulers.

Realising the difficulties of pushing for a genuine, people driven constitution on the fringes of the political field, NCA was soon to hatch into a full-fledged political party that has since been contesting past by-elections although coming out unsuccessful.

In the period, Madhuku vowed never to reconcile with their MDC-T allies they accused of treachery.

In his comments, the outspoken politician said they have since patched their differences with MDC-T, adding that he had respect for MDC-T President Nelson Chamisa.

“We have now very good relations. I have absolute respect for the new leadership of the MDC.

“Nelson Chamisa is a young brother to me and I really wish him very well but that has nothing to do with us working together as a political party.

“We have different views but for that reason it benefits our country to have us standing alone. But there is nothing between us anymore with the MDC,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s Presidential election looks set to be the most contested poll in since independence with a handful of new hopefuls all firming up to join the race.

Apart from Mnangagwa and Chamisa, other hopefuls include ex-State Vice President Joice Mujuru, ex-cabinet ministers Elton Mangoma and Nkosana Moyo, athletics sponsor Joseph Busha, among others.

MDC-T Vice President Thokozani Khuphe, expelled by the main opposition this past week, has also announced her intensions to become State President on the former co-governing party’s ticket.