Last Saturday, Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s longtime opposition leader and head of the Movement for Democratic Change party, announced a new coalition intended to finally topple President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the country since it attained independence in 1980.
The grouping, known as MDC Alliance, features Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti, government critics who had previously broken ranks with Tsvangirai but now say they’re determined to join forces to defeat Mugabe in elections planned for next year. “We owe it to the thousands of Zimbabweans to make sure that in our lifetime we can remove the beast called ZANU-PF,” Biti said, referring to the ruling party.
Analysts initially expressed cautious optimism that MDC Alliance would prove more durable than the many previous failed attempts to unite against the country’s 93-year-old leader. Its formation appeared to be a more meaningful development than a pact announced earlier this year between Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru, a former vice president turned government critic whose credibility in opposition circles is undermined by her years of service to ZANU-PF.