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Chamisa's conduct shameful, appalling

19 Feb 2018 at 05:44hrs | Views
WE are appalled by the shameful behaviour of opposition Movement for Democratic Change officials who are jockeying to succeed party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai who died in South Africa on Wednesday last week. While the family of the former Prime Minister in the inclusive Government and the entire nation is mourning the death of the MDC-T president, his lieutenants have wasted no time in jostling to succeed him even before his body is interred at its final resting place at his rural home in Buhera tomorrow.

What is galling about the whole charade is that the stampede to succeed Mr Tsvangirai, who succumbed to cancer of the colon, began way before his death with two of his deputies —Advocate Nelson Chamisa and Engineer Elias Mudzuri both claiming to have been appointed to act in their leader's position. In the weeks leading to Mr Tsvangirai's death, the two protagonists were at each other's throats with accusations, insults and threats flying between their camps.

Just as the nation was coming to terms with the MDC-T president's passing on last Thursday, Adv Chamisa convened a national council meeting in Harare where he was appointed acting president of the party for 12 months. Meanwhile, Eng Mudzuri, secretary general Douglas Mwonzora and spokesman Obert Gutu issued statements rubbishing the outcome of the national council meeting, setting themselves on a collision course with the youthful politician.

Dr Thokozani Khupe, the only elected deputy president of the MDC-T, also waded into the fiasco and has been vocal in blasting the actions of Adv Chamisa. She has been claiming the throne of acting president based on the MDC-T constitution. Dr Khupe appears to have the blessing of the Tsvangirai family as she travelled to South Africa to fetch her boss' body and has been prominent at the funeral wake.

The Tsvangirai family appears totally against the elevation of Adv Chamisa and his seemingly close relationship with their daughter-in-law Elizabeth Macheka. Amid this turmoil, the rank and file of the party has been left bemused and wondering whether their leader would be buried along with the party he founded in 1999.

Clearly, all the ingredients of a split are there and nobody can predict what will happen after the burial of Mr Tsvangirai tomorrow. Mr Gutu has already hinted on a major announcement with speculation rife that he, along with Eng Mudzuri and Mr Mwonzora, will join forces with National People's Party leader Dr Joice Mujuru in a coalition.

Elsewhere, Dr Khupe is hedging her bets and will certainly fight tooth and nail for the leadership of the party even though she faces a monumental task.

What is certain is that the infighting is likely to get nastier and violent before a new leader emerges to take the MDC-T to the next elections.

Adv Chamisa and his faction have one hand on the throne, having captured the party's Harvest House headquarters. Questions still remain over whether he has the stamina to totally vanquish his opponents and charm the generality of MDC supporters who are beginning to question his suitability for higher office given the manner in which he is seizing power.

Many are appalled by his lust for power and the disrespect he has shown to his leader by angling for his position just a day after his death. To his credit, he has shown traits of good leadership by addressing mourners who converged on Harvest House on Thursday. He has the numbers but his folly could be a lack of maturity and the thuggish element within his ranks.

Whatever happens from now, Zimbabweans should brace themselves for a bruising fight, one that will not end well for the MDC-T. We commiserate with the Tsvangirai family who are mourning the departure of a loved one but we can't help but feel for them as they have to contend with power hungry politicians some of whom are using them to achieve their selfish desires.

For all their pretences to be democrats, MDC-T officials are behaving like tin-pot despots who will stop at nothing to seize and retain power. Zimbabweans must be alarmed at events playing out in the party and wondering whether they can entrust their votes to people like Adv Chamisa and Eng Mudzuri.

As we report elsewhere on these pages, even people like Mr David Coltart, a founding member of the MDC, feel their erstwhile colleagues have lost their way. Writing on micro-blogging site Twitter yesterday, Mr Coltart lambasted the warring parties, saying their conduct was "shockingly distasteful."

He urged the rival factions to unite and bury Mr Tsvangirai with dignity before deciding on who will fill his shoes in terms of the party's constitution. "I find the conduct of the entire top leadership of the MDC-T shockingly distasteful at present. For goodness sake bury Morgan Tsvangirai in unity and with dignity without hurling insults at one another and then decide who will lead the party in terms of the MDC-T constitution," said Mr Coltart.

We couldn't have put it any better.

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