January 5, 2018 / 11:05 AM / 5 months ago

Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa rules out forming coalition government

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has ruled out forming a coalition government after visiting opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa attends a meeting of the ZANU-PF central committee in downtown Harare, Zimbabwe, December 14, 2017. To match Special Report ZIMBABWE-MNANGAGWA/GENERALS REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo

Zimbabwe is due to hold elections in 2018 in the first big test of Mnangagwa’s legitimacy after he rose to power in November last year following a de facto military coup which saw veteran leader Robert Mugabe reluctantly cede power.

Mnangagwa has previously indicated polls could be held as early as March, and is under pressure from civil society, would-be investors and opposition parties to implement political reforms following Mugabe’s 37-year grip on power.

“Currently there is no need,” Mnangagwa told reporters, referring to the possibility of forming a coalition with Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa (R) chats during his visit to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai at his house in Harare, Zimbabwe January 5, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Mnangagwa’s ZANU-PF party and the MDC were partners in a government of national unity for five years until 2013, eventually breaking down as acrimony between the parties re-emerged.

Tsvangirai, who is due to challenge Mnangagwa in national elections, has been receiving treatment for colon cancer since 2016 but says he is in good health.

“He is fine, he is recuperating very well and says he will soon again be having a medical check-up in South Africa,” said Mnangagwa after visiting Tsvangirai at his home.

Reporting by Alfonce Mbizwo; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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