‘MDC must set succession in motion before its too late’ – Analysts




THE MDC-T should urgently come out in the open and discuss its succession plan if the party wants to maintain confidence Zimbabweans have in the movement, says political analyst Ibo Mandaza.

Like Zanu PF, the MDC-T does not want to dish out its succession plan and this, according to Mandaza, was dangerous given Morgan Tsvangirai’s current ill condition.

Mandaza was addressing a political dialogue hosted by his Southern African Political Economy Series Trust in Harare Thursday. The panel was discussing the impact of the on-going Zanu PF succession battles on the 2018 elections.

Rashweat Mukundu, a media analyst, and Umzingwani MP, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, were the panellists.

In their papers, the two had not talked about what could happen in the MDC-T if Tsvangirai “does” not make it to the 2018 elections.

Mandaza said just like the Zanu PF, the MDC-T succession issue was of national importance.

“Succession is not just in Zanu PF. Why are you two ducking the succession in MDC-T because to me Zanu PF appears to be resolving its succession problem and do we have a similar process in the MDC-T particularly Morgan and his brand?” he said.

“The brand is under threat, worse still if he does not make it in the next election. What happens to the opposition and to me it’s a major national factor, unless if you are saying that elections are not important, which is my position, but in the meantime what happens to the opposition,” said Mandaza.

Tsvangirai was diagnosed with colon cancer last year and since then the opposition leader has been in and out of the country seeking medical attention.

Last month, the MDC-T front man was airlifted to South Africa after he had fallen critically ill and he spent almost three weeks in a hospital before returning to Zimbabwe early October.

On Wednesday, he was again flown to a South African hospital.

The ailing Tsvangirai has three deputies Thokozani Khupe, Elias Mudzuri and Nelson Chamisa.

The prospect of Robert Mugabe facing off Nelson Chamisa in 2018 is seemingly pushing panic buttons within the Central Intelligence Organization.

There is genuine fear that the President will be pitted against a younger and unpredictable opponent which might complicate the efforts to retain the nonagenarian as President.

Minutes of a briefing held by senior members of the CIO on Friday and chaired by Acting Director Aaron Nhepera expose the anxiety within the ranks. According to the minutes, the continued illness of Morgan Tsvangirai might lead to a leadership change within MDC with Nelson Chamisa emerging as the most likely candidate.

A change in MDC leadership would entail a complete change in tactics from mere containment to offensive counter-intelligence. Part of the minutes read

“Over the past 17 years the organization has horned effective strategies to handle MDC and MT. A change in leadership will require us to invest our resources in building measures to contain a new and uncertain threat .”

A resolution was made to approach President Mugabe with a proposal to move the election forward to January or February 2018 before MDC has had a chance to fully resolve its internal leadership crisis. As part of the proposal ZANU PF would move its Special Congress to end of November or early December.