Ncube throws hat in to contest presidential election

MDC President Welshman Ncube submitted his nomination papers on Friday to stand as a presidential candidate in the upcoming elections.

Other candidates whose papers were lodged with the court in Harare were ZANU PF leader Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC-T.

There is also a female challenger, Irene Bete, who successfully filed her papers to stand as an independent candidate in the hot race. There was no word from Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara. The party that he leads did not field any parliamentary, senatorial or council candidates.

But it is Ncube’s candidature that has surprised the many who believed the opposition would gang up and field just one candidate in the presidential race. In 2008 he did not contest, but instead put his weight behind Simba Makoni, leader of the Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD).

This is a clear indication that Ncube, whose papers were filed at the High Court by Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, will not be part of the ‘grand coalition’ that is still on the drawing board, seeking to end Robert Mugabe’s 33 years in power.

Misihairambwi-Mushonga told journalists soon after filing Ncube’s papers that they’ve never been approached by anybody to talk about a grand coalition.

‘Let me make it clear that we have never been approached to discuss this grand coalition. We only read about it in the newspapers. We’ve made it known that whoever wants to sit down and talk about it we are open to it and they know where to find us,’ she said.

However the MKD leader, Simba Makoni, withdrew from the presidential race on Thursday, throwing his weight behind the coalition that he said will be led by Tsvangirai.

Makoni said he was withdrawing from the race to mount a united front against Mugabe and ZANU PF, adding that he was prepared to serve the nation in any capacity in the post-government of national unity era.

ZANU Ndonga has already indicated they would back Tsvangirai in the pending crucial elections, with its chairman Reketai Semwayo on Friday filing his nomination papers to stand as an MP in Chipinge Central on an MDC-T ticket.

ZAPU leader Dumiso Dabengwa on Wednesday addressed the media and said that if there is to be a coalition it should be inclusive, and that all parties involved must be awarded top posts.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, the ZANU PF Defence Minister, said his party is confident that they will win the elections by a landslide. Briefing journalists soon after submitting Mugabe’s papers, Mnangagwa said their victory was certain because of the progressive policies that they’ve put across to the people.

‘One other thing that makes us confident is the number of people that participated in our primaries. We averaged 10,000 people in some constituencies whilst our colleagues had 70 to 90 people participating in their primaries,’ he said.

Asked about the well-being of Mugabe who flew to Singapore for a health check up, Mnangagwa retorted; ‘He’s fitter than you. He’s gone for a normal check-up on his eye.’

The MDC-T secretary-general, Tendai Biti, who submitted papers on behalf of Tsvangirai, also predicted victory for his party.

‘It is an honour to be filing papers for the next president of Zimbabwe. This winter we will be celebrating,’ Biti said. – SW Radio Africa News

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