Zapu president and former cabinet minister Dumiso Dabengwa has endorsed MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa for the presidency. Dabengwa also said that this was one of the reasons why he did not file his nomination papers to contest in the July 30 elections. Chamisa and President Emmerson Mnangagwa seem to be the main contenders in a record field of 23 candidates.
We publish his statement in full below,
At the last minute yesterday ZAPU drew back from fielding its President as a candidate in the 2018 elections. Prior to this decision, we had facilitated protracted discussions and consultations with what we regarded as significant actors in Zimbabwe’s national politics, with a view to forging a Grand National Coalition. Needless to say the will to take this difficult but necessary path did not prevail, hence the number of opposition presidential candidates standing on their party tickets by the end of nominations yesterday.
In bilateral negotiations between ZAPU and the MDC-Alliance, the two entities have finally arrived at a Memorandum of a Political Cooperation Agreement. Through this agreement, the two entities have committed themselves to the promotion of practical cooperation in what they view as a turning point in the struggle for democracy and good governance in Zimbabwe.
A united front of opposition parties has failed mainly because of competition for the top spot of presidential candidate, yet it is essential to enhance the capacity of one of the opposition leaders to take over the country’s presidency. My party is, therefore, throwing its weight behind Nelson Chamisa as a Presidential Candidate in the 2018 elections for which I am not standing, in his favour.
This is consistent with the line we have taken that personal egos and vanity should not be allowed to prevent us from crafting a combination capable of bringing about a democratic transition essential for peace, security, economic reconstruction and development. Zimbabweans deserve this, both current and future generations.
In terms of our agreement, the parties remain autonomous and ZAPU will continue to campaign for its candidates. However, the two entities will make sure that they do not compete against each other in some parliamentary seats.
In addition, the MDC-Alliance will reserve some agreed slots for ZAPU among those to be chosen on the basis of proportional representation (PR). For my part, I will actively support the candidacy of Nelson Chamisa and be at hand to support if he wins the presidential contest, as I earnestly hope. Our candidates too will include in their campaigns the party’s commitment to the cooperation agreement and the presidency of Nelson Chamisa.