Trouble seems to be brewing in the opposition MDC-T party over the temporary position of acting president of the party until Morgan Tsvangirai returns. Tsvangirai is in South Africa, where he is receiving treatment for colon cancer. On Wednesday, Tsvangirai, through his spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka, appointed one of his deputies Nelson Chamisa as the acting president of the party until he returns.Chamisa who is also the acting president of the coalition MDC Alliance replaced his co-vice president Elias Mudzuri as acting party president.
However, Thokozani Khupe the other co-vice president cried foul saying that she should be acting president instead as she was the only one out of the three vice presidents who had been elected by the party’s congress. Said Khupe
Three consecutive MDC-T congresses have elected yours truly as Deputy President to President Morgan Tsvangirai and other officers primarily to avoid a leadership vacuum at such an eventuality, and to shut any that may be artificially created by those with (a) hidden agenda.
On Thursday morning, however, party spokesperson Obert Gutu said that Mudzuri was still the acting president, effectively contradicting the appointment of Chamisa. Writing on Twitter, Gutu said:
I have just been authoritatively advised that Hon.Elias Mudzuri is still the Acting President of the MDC – T.
Gutu’s claim seems to support an unverified communique purportedly from Tsvangirai which dismissed the appointment of Chamisa and declared it null, void and invalid. Part of the communique reads:
Acting President Mudzuri, I have been advised of communication being circulated within the party and public generally, regarding changes to MDC-T authority levels.
This communication is false as I have made no such changes in the roles and responsibilities of the MDC-T Vice Presidents.
This letter serves to confirm that the authority I vested in you to act as the President of the MDC-T party still stands and any other pronunciations are null void and invalid.
This is not the first time that Luke Tamborinyoka and Obert Gutu have issued conflicting statements. With Tsvangirai battling colon cancer and considering retirement, the succession battles may just be starting.