The widely-discussed idea of a grand coalition of Zimbabwe’s opposition parties to improve their chances of defeating the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in next year’s elections has powerful support among partisans of the main opposition party, Afrobarometer’s most recent survey shows.
In post-independence Zimbabwe, the opposition has been marked by fragmentation – a fact that cost them the presidency in the March 2008 elections when the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) under Morgan Tsvangirai scored a plurality but fell short of a majority. The opposition has been at its feeblest since its heavy (albeit controversial) defeat in the 2013 elections, when the ZANU-PF achieved a more than two-thirds majority, which it has increased via by-elections boycotted by the MDC-T. Since 2013, the number of opposition parties has grown rapidly; there are reportedly now more than four dozen, although fewer than half a dozen are considered “serious” national parties. The disorganized state of the opposition has prompted widespread talk in opposition and civil-society circles about the need for a pre-electoral “grand coalition” of opposition parties to challenge the ZANU-PF in the highly anticipated elections, expected around mid-2018.