Thursday, 15 February 2018

MDC-T Fight For Leadership Escalates

THE MDC-T fight for leadership escalated yesterday following the death of party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday, with vice president Advocate Nelson Chamisa holding a meeting at Harvest House boycotted by other co-vice presidents Engineer Elias Mudzuri and Ms Thokozani Khupe.

At the Harvest House meeting, the Chamisa camp elevated him to the presidency on acting capacity for the next 12 months.

As a counter move, Eng Mudzuri called for a separate press conference at Mr Tsvangirai’s residence in Highlands, which failed to materialise. No specific reasons were given for the abortive media briefing.

Both Eng Mudzuri and Adv Chamisa visited Mr Tsvangirai’s Highlands residence at different intervals yesterday, presumably to avoid direct confrontation.

A family member who spoke at Mr Tsvangirai’s residence said they were expecting his body from South Africa today or tomorrow.
MDC-T Fight For Leadership Escalates
“A team from Doves Funeral Palour came requesting his (Mr Tsvangirai) clothes to dress him before repatriation of the body,” said the family member.

“We are waiting to hear what the Government will say, but it has always been his wish to be buried at our rural home in Buhera next to our mother (Mr Tsvangirai’s late wife Susan).”

After their Harvest House meeting, Adv Chamisa’s camp banned other leaders from issuing statements forthwith.

Mr Morgan Komichi, who is the acting MDC-T chairman in the absence of Mr Lovemore Moyo who has been boycotting party meetings of late, read out the resolutions following two meetings of Adv Chamisa’s executive council and standing committee supporters.

“Honourable Nelson Chamisa has been appointed to act in place of president Tsvangirai for a period of 12 months, which is line with the constitution of the party, so he is the acting president of this party,” he said.

“We have also resolved that to manage communication through this period of hard times we shall communicate through the office of the president.

“We have also resolved that any communication that is done by any leader in the party contrary to what the party has resolved through the national council shall be regarded as indiscipline and appropriate action will be taken.

“Those are the resolutions which have come out today and were unanimously adopted by the council.”

The power struggle in the MDC-T started a few weeks ago after Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Mr Luke Tamborinyoka issued a controversial and unverified statement claiming that Mr Tsvangirai had appointed Adv Chamisa as the acting president, taking over from Eng Mudzuri.

Eng Mudzuri dismissed the statement, saying he could not be demoted via a Twitter statement, while Ms Khupe urged the MDC-T to respect elected leaders of the party.

This resulted in a public spat between the opposing camps on social media, including other senior party officials.

Asked on the absence of Eng Mudzuri and Ms Khupe at yesterday’s press conference, Adv Chamisa professed ignorance of their whereabouts.

“Mr Mudzuri was aware of this meeting, but could not avail himself,” he said. “Ms Khupe was on her way, I am sure she must be making her way into Harare.

“That issue (party presidency) has already been resolved. This is the supreme decision making body of the party. It deals with all those issues in terms of the constitution. Once that issue is dealt with by the national council, it does not arise as a dispute because it is not about grievances individuals have, but it is all about whether or not there is live dispute. There is no live dispute in the party, you have seen all the structures that are here, they have made a position which position is going to guide the party going forward.”

Eng Mudzuri and Ms Khupe were unavailable for comment yesterday.

Addressing party supporters gathered at Harvest House, Adv Chamisa mocked his rivals saying: “We are going to talk to Mr Mudzuri and Madam Khupe that they should come so that we fight Zanu-PF together. We can’t all be presidents. We should not be focusing on positions, but the aspirations of the people. We have to be united because the shoes left by Mr Tsvangirai are too big to be filled.”
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