Pressure is mounting on MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai to step down as party president following his recent revelation that he is battling cancer of the colon.
It is understood that the general perception within the MDC-T is that Mr Tsvangirai’s resignation will unlock funding opportunities for the party as he is now being viewed as a spent force.
Party hawks are already angling to succeed the former trade unionist who has led the opposition since its formation in 1999.
Sources said a bruising turf war has begun between former spokesperson and organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa and the party’s deputy president Ms Thokozani Khupe.
Mr Tsvangirai revealed his status last week after failing to pitch up for two consecutive rallies in Bulawayo and Mutare.
Mr Chamisa, the source said, commanded respect of the party’s structures while Ms Khupe wanted to use her current position to position herself for eventual takeover from Mr Tsvangirai.
Although MDC-T spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu denied the jostling, sources said there was a growing wave of discomfort within the MDC-T rank and file over Mr Tsvangirai’s continued leadership.
“Things are not well in the party,” said the source.
“There is a strong feeling among the top echelons of the party that the president should step down and pave way for a new leader who is energetic, given his current health status. This has created a real fight between Chamisa and Khupe because they are the most serious contenders.
“Given his (Mr Tsvangirai) current status some are feeling he is now a spent force and donors may not be willing to part ways with their money sponsoring the party.”
Another source said there were also some manoeuvres by other senior party members including national chairman Mr Lovemore Moyo, deputy secretary- general Mr Tapiwa Mashakada and Engineer Elias Mudzuri.
The developments, according to the sources, had stalled coalition negotiations that had been opened between MDC-T and Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First.
“Zimbabwe People First do not know who exactly to negotiate with because there are fears that by 2018 maybe Mr Tsvangirai will be incapacitated,” said the source.
“As it stands the Mujuru side is in the middle of the park with regards to coalition negotiations.”
However, Mr Gutu dismissed MDC-T succession talk as a pack of lies being peddled by people who have nothing to do in their lives.
“That is an imagination of people who have nothing to do with their lives,” he said.
“The party is united and we are praying for our leader and we are sure he will overcome this challenge.”
Last week Mr Tsvangirai failed to attend a rally in Mutare after he was rushed to South Africa for a medical review.
He later addressed party supporters over the phone that was connected to a public address system.