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Zimbabwe Opposition Factions Now Wrangle Over Party Presidency

Leaders of Zimbabwe’s splintered Movement for Democratic Change found a new bone of contention this week as it emerged that the Bulawayo-based faction led by secretary general Welshman Ncube sought to elevate vice president Gibson Sibanda to acting president after announcing the expulsion of incumbent Morgan Tsvangirai.

Sibanda said his appointment by the so-called pro-senate faction, which participated in November upper house elections in defiance of Tsvangirai’s boycott call, was in line with the party constitution, as was, he held, the faction’s expulsion of Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai loyalists dismissed the expulsion and Sibanda’s appointment.

Sibanda said he had cut off ties to Tsvangirai going back to when they were president and vice president, respectively, of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, which gave rise to the Movement for Democratic Change, founded in 1999.

Sibanda told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe he will remain acting president until the next party congress chooses an executive.

Interim spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the opposing faction said Tsvangirai remains party president despite the resolutions by the pro-senate faction.

More reports from VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe…