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Opposition Leader Tsvangirai Reshuffles MDC Inner Circle

Movement for Democratic Change President Morgan Tsvangirai has reshuffled his inner circle amid reports of deep divisions within the opposition party, replacing his shadow cabinet with a group of spokespersons drawn from among the MDC’s members of parliament. Party sources said that a damaging internal split might be in the making with a showdown meeting set for Friday.

Mr. Tsvangirai seemed to be moving to shore up his authority as party executive and gain freedom of action against President Robert Mugabe by moving away from a consensus-driven structure.

One prominent casualty of the shake-up is Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, dismissed from her former position as foreign affairs spokesperson. One MDC official speaking on condition of anonymity said Mr. Tsvangirai has also dissolved the top decision-making body known as the Top Six. He said two factions have emerged loyal to Mr. Tsvangirai and Secretary General Welshman Ncube.

Besides those two men, the Top Six comprised Tsvangirai deputy Gibson Sibanda, Ncube deputy Gift Chimanikire, national chairman Isaac Matongo and treasurer Fletcher Dulini-Ncube.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to Innocent Sithole, former editor of the Zimbabwe Mirror, for his perspective on the turmoil within the opposition party.

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