The Movement for Democratic Change on Wednesday said the party's ailing leader Morgan Tsvangirai has with "effect from today, 7 February 2018, affirmed Vice President Hon. Nelson Chamisa as the acting President."
This means Engineer Elias Mudzuri, a co-Deputy President in MDC who has been the acting president of the opposition party for the past 4 weeks, has been effectively 'demoted'.
In a statement Tsvangirai's Spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said:
"President Morgan Tsvangirai has with effect from today, 7 February 2018, affirmed Vice President Hon. Nelson Chamisa as the acting President of the party by operation of the Constitution until the President's return.
"This is in light of the President's absence and that of the two other vice Presidents who are both in South Africa. VP Chamisa also continues in his assigned duties as the acting chairperson of the MDC Alliance."
On Tuesday (yesterday) there were reports that Tsvangirai, who is suffering from cancer of the colon, was in a critical condition in a hospital in neighbouring South Africa.
Prior to the MDC-T's statement, Tsvangirai had already given his strongest hint that he had been grooming his youngest deputy, Nelson Chamisa, to succeed him in the MDC — after he gave the youthful politician the crucial task of leading the party’s selection process of parliamentary and council candidates for this year’s crunch elections.
This is apart from Tsvangirai having also significantly chosen Chamisa to stand in for him and to handle all the party’s business within the MDC Alliance — as the former prime minister in the government of national unity valiantly battles colon cancer.
The promising alliance is anchored around the spirit of the original Movement for Democratic Change ahead of this year’s crucial polls, supported by a number of other fringe opposition parties.
Well-placed sources revealed yesterday that Tsvangirai had called Chamisa to his residence before his latest departure to South Africa last month for his treatment, to appoint him to lead the MDC’s selection of its candidates for the fast-approaching harmonised elections this year.
This was apparently done in the absence of both Khupe and Mudzuri — with the former having previously and vociferously voiced her concern over the manner in which Tsvangirai and the MDC have handled the formation of the Alliance.
In November last year, when Tsvangirai suddenly returned from South Africa where he was receiving treatment after new broke out that the military had reportedly seized power from Mugabe, War Veterans called for all Zimbabweans from all over the country to march to the streets in a bid to give MUgabe pressure to resign, Tsvangirai attended the march whose official venue was Zimbabwe grounds in Highfield, Harare. He was in the company of his beloved deputy, Nelson Chamisa.
A week later, after Mugabe eventually stepped down, President Mnangagwa was inaugurated at the National Sports Stadium, and Tsvangirai attended the event. He was in the company of his wife Elizabeth Macheka and his beloved deputy, Nelson Chamisa.
According to analysts, Tsvangirai had, of late, been grooming Chamisa to take over the reins of power, going with him on international trips where they have met foreign leaders, partners and potential funders.
"Chamisa has been Tsvangirai's right, hand man over the past year. The two travelled together to Ghana
early this year for the swearing-in of President Nana Akufo-Addo, before going to Kenya where they met [opposition leader] Raila Odinga. Chamisa was also left in charge at the MDC Alliance meeting in Kadoma when Tsvangirai's health took a nasty turn [last week]," the source said.