By Daniel Chigundu
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who was announced dead on 14 February (Valentine Day), has left his party in tatters that might result in another split.
Tsvangirai had been battling colon cancer for some time and was receiving treatment in South Africa.
Announcing the death on his Twitter handle, MDC-T vice president Elias Mudzuri said the country has lost an icon of democracy.
“As you are aware that our MDC T President, Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai has not been feeling well for some time, it is sad for me to announce that we have lost our icon and fighter for democracy.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, the party and the nation at this hour,” he said.
Tsvangirai’s untimely death has however complicated an already complicated factional fight in the party pitting his three vice presidents Thokozani Khupe, Elias Mudzuri and youthful Nelson Chamisa.
Although the three politicians deny leading factional groupings in the party, they are all reportedly angling to take over from the now late veteran politician who has led the party since its inaugural congress in 2000.
Chamisa who is not popular with party structures owing to misdeeds during his days as organising secretary has the backing of the youth wing, Mudzuri is reportedly being backed some senior party members and the Tsvangirai family, while Khupe has the backing of the Matabeleland region.
So dire has been the bickering and jockeying to the extent that Mudzuri who had been acting president of the party was barred from entering party headquarters Harvest House to address a press conference a few days ago.
Khupe, on the other hand, has been boycotting the party’s national executive and standing committee meetings chaired by her two colleagues as a way of protesting their appointment.
The MDC-T fighting has also resulted in senior party members such as Obert Gutu defying the party resolution with regards to the issue of allocation of seats to its partners in the MDC Alliance.
Gutu who is well aware that Harare East Constituency was allocated to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has continued to insist that he will be contesting for the seat which Tendai Biti is also eyeing.
It, however, remains to be seen how the leadership matrix will be handled as only Khupe among the three vice presidents was elected at Congress while the other two including current acting president Nelson Chamisa were appointed by Tsvangirai.
Chamisa was appointed the acting chairperson of the MDC Alliance by Tsvangirai a few months ago and already PDP has accepted him to even stand as the alliance Presidential candidate in the impending elections.
Meanwhile, Mudzuri posted on Tuesday that they were working hard to resolve the issues affecting the party adding that “we can’t betray the people’s Project as entrusted to us by our visionary icon Dr Morgan R Tsvangirai. Let’s all work to unify the party.
“I want to assure the MDCT family and the nation that we are working hard to amicably resolve outstanding issues causing disharmony in the cockpit, our detractors are working overdrive with state agents to torpedo the people’s project,’ he said.
What they said about Tsvangirai:
Hon S Kasukuwere @Hon_Kasukuwere: To live in the hearts of others is never to die. Your memory will forever be in the hearts of Zimbabweans. You fought a good fight, RIP Save
Privilege Musvanhiri: Like Moses who led the children of Israel out of Egypt to Canaan and never reached the promised land, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai @mrtsvangirai leaves a void that will be difficult to fill in Zimbabwe’s opposition politics. The charismatic opposition figure is gone.
ERC @erczimbabwe: The ERC has learnt with sadness, the passing of the founding President of MDC and former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai. We take this opportunity to offer our deepest condolences to the Tsvangirai family, MDC and Zimbabwe at large.
May your soul Rest In Peace!
Jessie F. Majome @JessieFMajome: The Colossus of the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe & beyond has fallen! The people’s hero is gone. May your dream materialize in our lifetime. Thank you for making me believe that change is possible, the courage & to fight for it, & an opportunity to. RIP Morgan Tsvangirai
Alex T Magaisa: It’s a dark day. Morgan Tsvangirai lost his brave battle with cancer this evening.
The heart breaks with pain.
It was a rare privilege and an honour to have the confidence of this icon of the democratic struggle. My thoughts are with his family #RIPMorganTsvangirai
Jacob Ngarivhume: This is a dark time for the nation of Zimbabwe. A light of hope that has shone upon the people of Zimbabwe for the past 18 years has gone. The father of Democracy in our nation has left us. May his soul rest in eternal peace and may the Lord comfort us all in this dark moment.
Vimbai Mutinhiri @Miss_Vimbai: Ndarwadziwa ini. No matter your political affiliation, you have to respect this man! Morgan Tsvangirai was cut from a different cloth.
#ThisFlag E Mawarire: Morgan Tsvangirai, A doyen of democracy and justice in our time. Thank you for making it possible for people like me to find the courage to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, HATICHADA, HATICHATYA. Zimbabwe owes you a great debt. REST IN POWER mukuru #RIPMorganTsvangirai hambani kahle
Hon. Temba P. Mliswa: Although he has been unwell we are in shock at the passing of Tsvangirai, a true democrat who fearlessly stood up to the Mugabe regime and was an inspiration to many. Although we may have differed politically I held a deep respect for MT. My condolences to his family.MHDSRIEP🙏🏽