Exiled former High Court judge, Benjamin Paradza has warned that MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, risks a disgraceful exit similar to that of ousted former President Robert Mugabe if he fails to handle the opposition party’s succession issue properly.
In a statement issued Friday, Paradza said succession should not have been a problem for a party purporting to be the champions of democracy, adding leadership change should be a natural, painless and smooth process for a mature movement that has been around for nearly two decades.
“If the party has not had a clear succession plan for the past 18 years, then it is likely to suffer the same fate as Zanu PF which once believed that Mugabe was indispensable and immortal. It was the absence of succession planning that brought about his disgraceful exit,” he said.
This comes amid reports that a faction loyal to Khupe is alleged to be pushing for a special congress aimed at retiring the MDC leader on health grounds.
Paradza, leader of an obscure opposition political party, ZUNDE, said the internal succession squabbles that have rocked Tsvangirai’s party could also derail the MDC Alliance project.
He said those jostling for positions in the biggest opposition party should seriously consider how they should manage the change of guard as the post-Tsvangirai era approached.
A raging battle erupted in the largest opposition party in the country as pressure intensified on Tsvangirai to hand over the button owing to health complications.
After Tsvangirai indicated two weeks ago he could consider handing over power, jostling for his position intensified, with the three vice presidents, Nelson Chamisa, Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe as well as Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora angling themselves to replace their boss, who is battling colon cancer.
The internal fights, Paradza said, were now beginning to take their toll not only on the party but the MDC Alliance as well and was causing anxiety among the ordinary people.
“The current discord can easily derail the coalition project if not managed carefully and in a timely manner. When you are faced with change, there are only two options available: either you manage it or it manages you,” he said.
Paradza, who fled Zimbabwe in 2006 after he was arrested on charges of corruption and perverting the course of justice, said the MDC-T was the natural core around which the opposition alliance should be formed.
– New Zimbabwe