Opposition MDC Alliance spokesperson Welshman Ncube has expressed concern over the future of the coalition following the death of its presidential candidate and former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The Alliance was established in August last year as Tsvangirai brought together former allies and other opposition parties in a bid to mount a formidable challenge against the ruling Zanu PF party.
Zimbabwe is due to hold fresh elections this year with infighting over Tsvangirai’s succession in his MDC-T party seen as likely putting President Emmerson Mnangagwa on the path to victory in the polls which are to be held before July.
In his condolence message following Tsvangirai’s passing, Ncube said he “prayed” that the MDC Alliance would not collapse.
“We pray that the Lord guides the MDC-T towards unity, tolerance, compassion and empathy, the qualities which Morgan Tsvangirai embodied,” said Ncube.
Tsvangirai’s lengthy illness had widened fissures in the party with rival factions led by his three deputies – Nelson Chamisa, Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe – fighting to over his succession.
The divisions deepened Thursday when Chamisa’s group held an urgent crisis meeting at the party’s head offices in Harare where they appointed the youthful politician as the party leader for the next 12 months.
Co-vice presidents Mudzuri and Khupe did not attend the meeting at the party’s Harvest House head office with the former later calling for his own press conference at Tsvangirai’s Highlands house in the capital.
Ncube said the leadership fight in the MDC-T undermined Tsvangirai’s vision.
“We have lost a brother, a leader, an icon, a man of the people. As we mourn his passing, we also celebrate his extraordinary life of courage, humility and service to the working people of our beloved country,” he said.
“President Tsvangirai steadfastly steered the turbulent ship of opposition politics in Zimbabwe since 1999 up until the time of his passing yesterday (Wednesday).
“His devotion and unwavering sense of service to the nation and its people, the painful sacrifices he went through, unjust trials, imprisonment, vilification, abuse, harassment, beatings and torture endeared him to the common man.
“He understood the masses and the masses understood him. Such was the man.”