16 Feb

Death of Tsvangirai Threatens Unity of Zimbabwe’s Opposition

The death of Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has left his party in disarray ahead of presidential elections later this year.

Tsvangirai, who led the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, died Wednesday at the age of 65 from colon cancer.

He had been nominated to run against President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the presidential vote expected in the first half of this year but indicated last month he was considering bowing out of the race after undergoing treatment, saying it was time to leave his party in “new hands.”

While the MDC on Thursday appointed Nelson Chamisa, 40, as acting party president for 12 months, he may face challenges from deputy leaders Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe.

On their Twitter accounts, the three men have each claimed to be the official party voice and speak for Tsvangirai, fueling media speculation that they’re locked in a power struggle.

“The fear for the opposition is that his sad passing will exacerbate the ongoing leadership battle in the party, which may cause it to split or otherwise be in disarray ahead of polling,” said Derek Matyszak, senior research consultant at the South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies.

The party has previously splintered with senior officials Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube forming their own parties.

Chamisa, a lawyer, was widely seen as Tsvangirai’s favored successor. Khupe is MDC’s longest-serving vice president and holds an information technology degree, while Mudzuri is an engineer with a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a former mayor of Harare.

Tsvangirai’s death comes only three months after the ousting of Robert Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years until the military seized control in November 2017 and forced him to resign.

Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front named Mnangagwa to succeed him. A date for the presidential election hasn’t yet been announced.

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09 Aug

Zimbabwe: President Scoffs At Opposition Coalition

President Mugabe not troubled by formation of an opposition "coalition"

Addressing guests at a dinner hosted by Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Iran, Nicholas Kitikiti, President Mugabe said he and his party were not troubled by the recent formation of an opposition coalition ahead of next year’s harmonised elections.

“We may have bits and pieces, lots of bits and pieces that call themselves parties, trying to come together. “And I have said in the past, they don’t have any record, any record of their having been fighters anywhere.

“Political zeroes. I have said it does not matter how many zeroes you try to put together, they never constitute a unit; they remain zeroes.

“But the party is there, the two parties (Zanu and Zapu) that can demonstrate by showing the graves, remains of those who perished in the struggle. This is what continues to bring the people to us.”

The President went on: “They (the opposition) will never ever succeed as long as the party continues to be united. And I’m glad that is the situation.”

The opposition coalition dubbed MDC-Alliance brings together fringe political parties like the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube, the People’s Democratic Party of Mr Tendai Biti, the Multi-Racial Christian Democrats of Mathias Guchutu, Transform Zimbabwe of one Jacob Ngarivhume, Zim-PF led by former Amabassador to Mozambique Agrippa Mutambara and Zanu Ndonga, all of which have never commanded any significant following.

The coalition has since divided the MDC-T with the divisions manifesting in violent clashes witnessed at the party offices in Bulawayo where party vice president Thokozani Khupe had to be hospitalised after being brutally assaulted by pro-Tsvangirai thugs over her opposition to the coalition.

“That’s why you can read, if you have any newspapers or listen to the radio or watch television, or you get some information from the embassy the huge rallies that we are holding, ” President Mugabe said.

“The youth, our youth, very dynamic, are organising these rallies where we have thousands upon thousands of people coming. Some walking long distances to interface with the President and other leaders.

“They call them interface meetings. These started with that long march, the Million-Man March and it is the birth of these interface provincial meetings.

“Huge ones; your parents, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, are the ones coming to stamp, to give a stamp, the people’s stamp, not to my name, but to the struggle I and others lead. And I thank them for it.”

The President was in Iran for the second-term inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani.

He was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Mr George Charamba among other senior Government officials.

Source from allAfrica