The rupture inside Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, has widened after the family of ailing Morgan Tsvangirai disputed the appointment of deputy president Nelson Chamisa as the party’s acting leader.
According to an SABC news clip, Tsvangirai’s family dismissed reports that Chamisa met with Tsvangirai last week. They said that the only person to have met the ailing leader was one of his three deputies, Elias Mudzuri, who was “confirmed” to be still the party’s acting leader.
The family accused Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, of lying after he issued a statement claiming that the ailing veteran leader had appointed Chamisa as the party’s caretaker leader.
Tsvangirai’s son Edwin said that his father had spoken with Mudzuri on Thursday and Friday.
“They met yesterday (Thursday) and today (Friday),” Edwin was quoted as saying.
This came amid conflicting reports regarding Chamisa’s appointment last week as the acting party president.
In an interview with News24 Tamborinyoka maintained that Chamisa had indeed been appointed the acting party leader until Tsvangirai, who was currently receiving medical treatment in South Africa returned home.
“The president appoints the acting president and it’s him who has appointed Advocate Nelson Chamisa. He [Chamisa] will act until the president returns. Meanwhile, the president remains unwell but stable,” said Tamborinyoka.
Tsvangirai had earlier also reportedly denied that he had appointed Chamisa as acting party leader.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, Tsvangirai had denied appointing Chamisa but instead confirmed that Mudzuri remained the party’s acting leader.
Mudzuri and Chamisa have in recent days clashed over who was senior – given that they were both acting in different capacities, with critics arguing that Tsvangirai could have exacerbated the situation by giving the two almost identical powers.
Chamisa was the party’s principal regarding the coalition while his counterpart was appointed the party’s acting president last month.
Also, another co-vice president, Thokozani Khupe, was reportedly at loggerheads with Chamisa.
Khupe was, all along, the only vice president until Tsvangirai appointed both Chamisa and Mudzuri last year.