01/12/2016 18:10 GMT | Updated 01/12/2016 18:21 GMT

Opposition Political Parties From Zimbabwe Have Met In SA For Talks

There's a chance the smaller opposition parties may form a coalition ahead of Zimbabwe's 2018 elections.

Philimon Bulawayo / Reuters
Opposition parties in Zimbabwe could band together ahead of the country's 2018 elections in order to oust the ruling party, Zanu-PF, and displace President Robert Mugabe.

At least 12 Zimbabwean political parties have met at Stellenbosch University, outside Cape Town, to discuss how they will compete in the 2018 elections.

The main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Party (MDC), however, did not take part in the discussions.

Talks of opposition parties forming a coalition ahead of the 2018 elections have been on the rise, mainly after the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and former vice-president and Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader, Joice Mujuru made the announcement in August.

MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora told News24 during an interview that his party did not participate in Wednesday's discussions due to "differing agendas".

Mwonzora said that the MDC, as the "biggest opposition party" had not been given a clear agenda for the meeting and had also not been provided with a detailed criteria on how a leader would be chosen for the Coalition of Democrats (CODE).

'Fringe' political parties

"In light of all the work that the MDC has done, equalising the unequal is unjust," Mwonzora claimed.

Instead, Mwonzora said, the plan was to form alliances with big parties like the ZimPF and other key stakeholders such as the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, trade unions and civil society.

Mujuru recently praised Tsvangirai in the media, saying that the MDC leader had been brave in taking on long-rule President Robert Mugabe.

"Zimbabweans should thank Tsvangirai and his team. They taught us courage, that we did not have, something that even shocked us in Zanu-PF regardless of the fact that I am a trained soldier," she was quoted as saying.

Mwonzora said that the MDC could not be ranked with "fringe" political parties.

"MDC is the biggest opposition party, with 71 MP seats in parliament and over 500 councilors countrywide. That can never count for nothing. The MDC has positioned itself in that manner. We must acknowledge that the party has achieved more and that can't count for nothing," he added.