Tichaona Zindoga Political Editor
The ongoing chaos in MDC-T escalated yesterday as Mr Nelson Chamisa was announced the new acting president, standing in for party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, whose health has reportedly deteriorated in South Africa.
Mr Chamisa takes over from Engineer Elias Mudzuri, who has been acting in the past few weeks, and the change of the temporary guard of the opposition party has worsened internal fighting.
Mr Chamisa, Eng Mudzuri and Ms Thokhozani Khupe, the other vice president, are locked in a bitter struggle to succeed Mr Tsvangirai, who has been at the helm for the past 19 years.
Two years ago, Mr Tsvangirai announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer of the colon and lately his health has taken a turn for the worse.
“President Morgan Tsvangirai has with effect from today, 7 February 2018, affirmed vice president Honourable Nelson Chamisa as the acting President of the party by operation of the Constitution until the President’s return,” read a statement by Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesperson and MDC-T director of information, Mr Luke Tamborinyoka.
“This is in light of the president’s absence and that of the two other vice presidents who are both in South Africa. VP Chamisa also continues in his assigned duties as the acting chairperson of the MDC Alliance.”
The elevation of Mr Chamisa fuelled further fighting in the opposition party, days after the fresh-faced politician squared off with Eng Mudzuri in Chitungwiza over the weekend, over who was more senior.
It was reported that Eng Mudzuri, who was acting MDC-T president, refused to speak before Mr Chamisa, who was the main speaker at the MDC-Alliance rally.
Mr Chamisa is the party nominee at the alliance.
His retention of acting president’s position yesterday was met with hostility by his rivals within the party, who questioned Mr Tsvangirai’s ability to make a decision due to his critical condition.
“It’s a fake appointment,” said a senior MDC-T member. “MT (Tsvangirai) is seriously ill and he is actually now on oxygen in hospital. He’s incapable of making any decisions, let alone to talk. I’m telling you this in the strictest of confidence.”
The senior member further claimed that certain officials had “since hired a militia to physically eliminate some of us”.
“I cannot continue associating myself with this madness,” he said, adding that there was “now total chaos in my party”.
“I’m not a desperate guy.”
The sentiments of the officials appeared to tie in with belligerent remarks that Messrs Chamisa, Tamborinyoka and Job Sikhala were posting on their social media, appearing to prepare for violent confrontations with their rivals.
The MDC-T youth assembly, a wing notorious for being used as a conduit for violence against internal and external opponents, yesterday condemned Ms Khupe and Eng Mudzuri, together with the party’s secretary general Douglas Mwonzora, for attending a Coalition Building Workshop being held in Cape Town South Africa.
“Their participation at such forum directly violates a National Council resolution which exclusively mandated the President to deal with such issues,” said Happymore Chidziva, the youth assembly chairman.
“The president is on public record to have turned down a similar invitation to attend a similar workshop conducted by the same facilitators. The action by the trio shows great disrespect, not only for the National Council resolution, but also shows disdain for the party president who, in accordance with the National Council decision, had refused to associate with such exercises conducted by non-Zimbabweans and abroad.”
Chidziva said the participation of the trio at the workshop had not been sanctioned by the party’s National Council.