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The much-touted coalition between MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and National People's Party front runner Dr Joice Mujuru is in limbo after the latter dumped Mr Tsvangirai to sign a separate agreement with Mr Tendai Biti of the People's Democratic Party.Dr Mujuru and Mr Biti were expected to sign their Memorandum of Understanding yesterday, but later deferred it to another day. On the other hand, Mr Tsvangirai is also losing patience with Dr Mujuru.

Mr Tsvangirai also signed separate agreements with Professor Welshman Ncube of MDC and Mr Jacob Ngarivhume of Transform Zimbabwe who all appeared to endorse him as the natural leader of the supposed coalition.

PDP and NPP officials yesterday confirmed that a bilateral agreement between their parties was in the offing. Mr Jacob Mafume who is the PDP spokesperson said: "We have a draft agreement that we have come up with but there was a mix up that some people invited journalists before we finalise certain things. We are going to sign it any day, any minute from now. My principal (Mr Biti) and NPP principal (Dr Mujuru) were expected to meet today."

NPP interim spokesperson and secretary general designate Mr Gift Nyandoro added: "We were expecting to have a signing ceremony with PDP today as anticipated. I am yet to get a clarification from our PDP colleagues on what happened." Mr Nyandoro said the signing of a new agreement with PDP was a continuation of the same coalition narrative they had with MDC-T.

MDC-T sources that spoke to The Herald yesterday confirmed that a coalition with Dr Mujuru was now dead. The source said the major bone of contention was on who would lead the coalition and how constituencies would be distributed in the 2018 general elections.

"As it is, the MoU between MDC-T and Dr Mujuru's NPP is in limbo because of disagreements on who will lead the coalition and distribution of constituencies," said the source.

"As MDC-T we want her (Dr Mujuru) to take rural constituencies where we are not strong but her party is demanding that there be even distribution of constituencies. This has already created a source of misunderstanding that has spawned Mr Tsvangirai to move in to try to salvage the agreement which to most of us is as good as dead."

Contacted for comment MDC-T spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu was evasive on the status of their coalition agreement with Dr Mujuru. "On more occasions than one, I have stated that issues to do with coalitions are not to be discussed or negotiated in the media nor in the public domain. Once again let me advise you that president Morgan Tsvangirai is personally handling all issues to do with coalitions," said Mr Gutu.

"We know that our detractors are terribly worried about the prospect of Zanu-PF being defeated by a grand coalition of opposition political parties in next year's elections. Well, let these detractors continue to have sleepless nights. At the right time, an appropriate announcement will be made. For now please hold your horses."

A source close to the two parties said the coalition between the two were as good as dead, a situation that has seen Dr Mujuru exploring new alliances in the form of Mr Biti.

"There do not seem to be any prospects of narrowing our differences and it was now almost inevitable that the coalition agreement is in false start. This has seen Mr Tsvangirai calling for closure for these talks by end of this month while Dr Mujuru was looking for other alliances," said the source.

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