MDC-T is facing the same predicament as Zanu PF in dealing with the replacement of its ailing leader, a leading political analyst has said.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been at the helm of the country’s main opposition party since its formation in 1999, has been recovering in South Africa after he was taken ill almost two weeks ago.
There are already reports of jostling for his post, with one of the three MDC-T vice-presidents Nelson Chamisa accused of showing too much ambition.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said the Zanu PF culture of one centre of power appeared to also be MDC-T’s biggest challenge.
“In both instances, we have witnessed the concentration of the one centre of power phenomenon in Zanu PF you know that virus also infected the opposition,” he said.
He was quick to point out that the lack of succession planning in political parties was prevalent in African countries and this could be traced to local cultures.
“In Africa, it has always been difficult to see one living chief passing on power to another living chief. Power has always been transferred by death and at most times causing conflict. It is out of tune with modern realities,” Masunungure said.
The issue of having more than one vice president, who are not ranked, created more confusion around Tsvangirai’s succession, Masunungure said.
“They are not ranked and appear to be co-equal and in that case, there is no clear plan of succession,” he said.
However, MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu insisted that his party had a succession plan, but refused to spell it out.
“We have the party leadership that is there in terms of our constitution,” he said.
“All matters to do with succession are well-provided for in that document. There is no crisis.”
Thokozani Khupe, the only elected MDC-T vice-president is the acting party leader in Tsvangirai’s absence.
Elias Mudzuri and Chamisa were appointed by Tsvangirai as vice-presidents amid internal resistance.
Jameson Timba, an MDC-T national executive member, said any of the three vice-presidents can take over from Tsvangirai.
“We have three vice-presidents and any one of them can be a president at a special or ordinary congress in as much as they can act in the absence of the president, as is the case now where vice-president Khupe is acting,” he said.