By Fungi Kwaramba
The ugly infighting engulfing the MDC, was further exposed when Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka, scrambled to issue a statement reiterating that he was still in charge of the indisposed former prime minister’s affairs as confusion surrounded the party’s acting president position.
At a hastily-arranged press conference, Tamborinyoka told journalists that he was still in charge of Tsvangirai’s communication and had indeed been instructed by the former PM in the inclusive government to communicate the appointment of one of his deputies, Nelson Chamisa as acting president.
“I want to place it on record that I am the official spokesperson of the president and what I place on the market are his views as instructed personally by him. That position has not changed.
I also want to place it on record that there is a purported statement from the Office of the President that seeks to nullify what the president himself directed that I communicate.
“For the record, that letter is on a fraudulent letterhead with a scanned signature of the president, which signature is readily available online.
“The Office of the President has not released such a letterhead to anyone and the president, who is currently in SA, has not asked for him to place his purported letter. In short, the so-called letter is fraudulent and bogus,” Tamborinyoka told journalists.
He said Chamisa had already assumed his responsibilities in an acting capacity as directed by Tsvangirai.
“I wish to state that the stampede in the cockpit is needless and unnecessary. The president remains unwell but is stable. Our behaviour and deportment in these trying moments for our president must enhance the towering brand of Morgan Tsvangirai and not seek to undermine it.
“Unfortunately, this needless stampede by political vultures is disrespectful of his wife and family as well as the towering edifice of brand Tsvangirai that has inspired Zimbabweans over the years,” he added.
A letter said to have been issued by Tsvangirai maintaining that Mudzuri is still the MDC acting president has been circulating on social media. Tamborinyoka said it was a hoax.
“I have been advised of communication being circulated within the party and public generally, regarding changes to MDC authority levels. The communication is false as I have made no such changes in the roles and responsibilities of the MDC vice presidents.
“The letter serves to confirm that the authority I vested in you as president of the MDC party still stands and any other pronunciations are null and void and invalid,” Tsvangirai allegedly said in the letter that was copied to Chamisa, Khupe and Mudzuri.
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu appeared to confirm the authenticity of the letter when he said Tamborinyoka had not been authorised to hold his press conference and maintained that Mudzuri was acting president, not Chamisa.
“I don’t know who authorised him (Tamborinyoka) to call for the conference. In the interim, I maintain that I have been authoritatively advised that Mudzuri remains the acting president of the MDC. I am not going to attend Luke’s press conference because I have got absolutely no appetite to witness a circus,” Gutu told the Daily News.
Meanwhile, Khupe poured more fuel to the raging MDC succession issue when she also wrote on Twitter that she is the rightful acting president.
“I was MDC-T A/President for months in 2008 on the basis of our constitution which has remained unchanged and clear on the roles of elected officers of congress. It does not give any extensive powers to any one office bearer such that without them the party is dysfunctional.
“Those of us sincerely concerned about the Zimbabwean voters and their MDC-T must impress upon the 2014 congressionally elected leadership at their level to take decisive corrective measures against the use of (the) president’s name to propagate unconstitutionalism,” said a statement which appeared on her Twitter handle.
The MDC is being devoured by factional fights which have intensified ever since Tsvangirai hinted that he was thinking of quitting active politics due to his failing health.
Tsvangirai’s health deteriorated at the weekend with party and family sources urging the nation “to brace for the worst”.
The once-dogged labour union leader has been in and out of South African hospitals for cancer of the colon treatment in the last months.
As his health continues to worry his supporters and family, his senior officials in the MDC have been going at each other hammer and tongues with different factions punting their preferred candidates to succeed the former PM.
On Wednesday, the trio of Mudzuri, Khupe and secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, were accused of hobnobbing with the defeated Zanu PF G40 faction and former vice president Joice Mujuru, who now leads the National People’s Party (NPP) which has so far refused to join the MD Alliance.
The trio was in Cape Town at the workshop attended by Mujuru and several politicians from the opposition. The trip has caused anger among senior party officials.
The MDC youth assembly branded the Cape Town trip by its two VPs and Mwonzora as a “shame”. The largest opposition party insisted that it had nothing to do with the “workshop” and the trio’s trip. DailyNews