By Anna Chibamu
MDC-T leadership rivals Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri have dispelled fears the party is on the verge of disintegrating following the death of president and founder Morgan Tsvangirai.
Chamisa, Mudzuri and co-vice president Thokozani Khupe rowed bitterly over who should act in Tsvangirai’s stead as the former premier was hospitalised in South Africa in the final weeks of a cancer fight he eventually lost Wednesday evening.
And after Tsvangirai’s passing Chamisa immediately convened a party National Council meeting which elected him new party leader in a development condemned by his rivals.
However, both Chamisa and Mudzuri insisted that the party was not collapsing saying, “there is no crisis, the only crisis is that we have lost our iconic leader”.
“The key thing is that there is unanimity in giving our President a hero sent off. He is a hero of the people,” Chamisa told newzimbabwe.com at Tsvangirai’s Highlands home in Harare.
“There is no crisis whatsoever, the only crisis that we have is that we have lost our best foot forward, who is our president. That is the only crisis we have.”
Mudzuri said the focus was on giving the party’s founder a befitting send-off.
“We are here to bury a hero. We would want to make sure that we do not do what you would not want to see happening,” he said.
“Tsvangirai suffered for everyone and broke all bridges by himself, sacrificing himself. We want to work and not find ourselves finding a stage to derogate the late President.
“If there are any differences, we close our differences for now. If we want to talk about our differences, we will talk about them outside the funeral.”
Tsvangirai’s brother Manase, representing the family, also downplayed the leadership squabbles.
“We sat down yesterday (Wednesday) with deputy chairman Morgan Komichi, (secretary general Douglas) Mwonzora, vice president Thokozani Khupe and Chamisa,” he said.
“There is no crisis at all as we prepare for my brother’s funeral. If there are any issues, we should have heard about them. We are the family and lead everyone in the burial proceedings.
“The brand here is Tsvangirai and not MDC-T. The man would have loved to see the country move forward.”
Khupe however, publicly clashed with Chamisa soon after his appointment as party acting president, accusing her rival of usurping power through unconstitutional means.
The party’s sole elected vice president fumed; “You should be ashamed of yourself.
“It is unAfrican. You are going to burn in hell. How could you do this before even Tsvangirai is buried?”