THE MDC-T yesterday declared its late leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, a “people’s hero”, as the party’s national council anointed Nelson Chamisa as interim leader for the next 12 months.
Chamisa’s elevation was endorsed by 190 of the 215 national council members at a meeting chaired by deputy chairman Morgen Komichi.
The other two vice-presidents, Thokozani Khupe and Elias Mudzuri, were among other council members who were absent from the meeting.
Besides Chamisa’s appointment, the council also resolved to suspend all party programmes until Tsvangirai’s burial and handed over party spokesperson Obert Gutu’s duties to the president’s office.
“To manage communications during this period of hard times, we shall communicate through the office of the president,” Komichi said, adding the party’s presidential candidate would be announced later.
Chamisa said the national council had to sit and decide on the leadership question, which over the past week had become a source of confusion.
“There is never an opportune moment to deal with a crisis. We are in a crisis, there must be leadership in the cockpit and there has to be an acting president,” he said.
“So there was no way we were going to skip that issue and leave it hanging. We have to provide leadership direction, and that direction was provided after robust debate in terms of what is good for the party. In terms of the future processes in the party, those will be undertaken.”
Chamisa described Tsvangirai as an icon and doyen of democracy, whose legacy could only be preserved by an electoral victory against Zanu PF presidential candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“We are just four months away from an election and we have lost a commander, but what I can tell you is we don’t have a crisis of the generals to make sure that we win the battle and the war against the incumbent and we will win this election,” he said.
He said Tsvangirai would be buried at his Buhera rural home in accordance with his will.
Chamisa said he would soon seek to engage Mudzuri and Khupe to iron out their differences and rally all party members to gear for the upcoming general elections.