Harare: The party of Zimbabwe’s former finance minister became the seventh to join an alliance of opposition organisations that wants to contest elections next year and win power from President Robert Mugabe, who’s led the country since 1980.

The “alliance has a duty to remove the beast called ZANU-PF,” a reference to Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party, former finance minister Tendai Biti told thousands of supporters at an opposition rally on Saturday in the capital, Harare. His organisation is the People’s Democratic Party.

Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru and ex-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are at loggerheads over who’ll lead the coalition, five officials involved in the talks said last month, asking not to be identified because the talks haven’t been made public. Mujuru leads the National People’s Party, while Tsvangirai’s organisation is the Movement for Democratic Change-T.

The opposition divisions mirror discord in ZANU-PF, where supporters of Mugabe’s wife, Grace, and Deputy President Emmerson Mnangagwa are lobbying for their contender to succeed the president. While Mugabe, 93, is ZANU-PF’s candidate for the vote, he’s grown increasingly frail, sparking concern that he may not be able to see out another five-year term.

The intensifying political manoeuvring comes at a time when Zimbabwe faces deepening unrest over widespread unemployment, the collapse of basic services and a severe cash crunch after abandoning its own currency in 2009 in favour of the dollar. The economy has halved in size since 2000.