Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai says the ailing party leader has a constitutional right to elect his successor. The party says any elected successor can either be endorsed or rejected by MDC-T organs such as the Standing Committee.
According to party deputy spokesperson, Thabitha Khumalo, this is the only way of selecting leaders outside an elective congress. Three MDC-T vice presidents - Nelson Chamisa, Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe - are the current contenders for the top party post ahead of the forthcoming crucial elections.
Khumalo said there is no need for internal conflicts over the control of Tsvangirai’s position as he is struggling to survive cancer of the colon. She noted that there are high expectations that one of the vice presidents will take over Tvangirai’s position.
“These names will come into the limelight because those are our three vice presidents and that’s the reason why they are coming (up in all social media platforms) … with the expectation that one of them to take over … in the MDC party it was agreed (in the last congress) that Morgan Richard Tsvangirai has a right to appoint and disappoint members of the Standing Committee and that is why he eventually appointed VPs Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri.
“… He was guided by that resolution (at the congress) which was endorsed by the National Executive and the National Council of the MDC. One thing that we cannot do as a party is to be unconstitutional. The resolutions of the 2014 Congress are now constitutional. So, we have to implement them in letter and spirit.”
She said it is unfortunate that the resolutions cannot be changed now to suit individuals in the party, who are looking beyond the appointment of a new president besides Chamisa, Khupe and Mudzuri.
Reacting to Khumalo’s remarks and the MDC-T’s succession matrix, Dr. Nkululeko Sibanda, a political analyst at Huddersfield University said, “I think that this is a confirmation that the MDC had become and has become clearly undemocratic, slightly autocratic organization in the sense that the principle of appointing and disappointing in a democracy must be reserved for the same person, the same group or at least somebody there must be recourse to that. To say the MDC Congress allowed a vice president to be elected and that the person can be deselected by just one individual without cause, without any reason it’s certainly an indication, if I understand correctly, it’s an indication of some aspects of the MDC becoming just as bad as Zanu PF rules …”
Tsvangirai is currently in South Africa receiving some medical help.