FORMER Harare Mayor Elias Mudzuri seems to have pulled the rug from under rival Nelson Chamisa’s feet after meeting ailing MDC-T patriarch Morgan Tsvangirai and gaining the support of the party leader’s family.
Mudzuri and Chamisa, both deputy MDC-T presidents, are locked in a bitter tussle for power as Tsvangirai fights for his life in a South African hospital.
Earlier this week, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka announced that Chamisa had been appointed acting party leader “until the president returns”.
But Mudzuri issued own statement dismissing the purported appointment and then flew to South Africa where he met the former Prime Minister.
“There has been a bit of falsehoods going around that have disturbed the operations of the party. Everything has been clarified by bringing the acting president that’s myself here. Nobody else will talk to the president,” Mudzuri told South African broadcaster SABC Friday.
Mudzuri accused Chamisa of cooking up his purported appointment.
“The president (Tsvangirai) has called me here to share with me personally the goings on. There are people claiming to have been asked to act (as party leader) outside me,” said the former Harare mayor.
“The president confirmed to me today that he can only communicate through me and no one else. That is why I am here, I have talked to him last night and today, I left him going for x-Ray, if there is anything that needs clarification I will fly here.
“People must learn to respect authority as given by the president our icon Richard Morgan Tsvangirai. He urged us to unite for the purpose of winning the elections. I was asked to be visible everywhere. We are looking at the future of the country.”
Tsvangirai’s family also effectively accused Tamborinyoka of lying. The MDC-T leader’s son Edwin confirmed that his father had indeed talked to Mudzuri.
“They met yesterday (Thursday) and today (Friday),” said Edwin.
Edison’s wife, Diana, who seemed to have taken on the role of family spokesperson was even more emphatic.
“Our father has limited interactions with people in the party. He does not been speaking to anyone except through his son here Edwin, my husband. Anyone who has not spoken through Edwin is not stating the facts,” said Diana.Advertisement
Meanwhile, in a short interview with SABC, Chamisa claimed that he was acting president by virtue of being in Zimbabwe.
“Mudzuri is in South Africa, I am in Zimbabwe and conducting party business,” he said.
“We are meeting structures, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and government demanding reforms. I am the acting president.”
He would however, not say what would happen when Mudzuri returns to the country.
Tsvangirai initially left Mudzuri as acting party leader while Chamisa was given charge of an opposition alliance that includes seven other parties.
But all hell broke loose after reports claimed Tsvangirai’s condition had taken a turn for the worst, sparking an open contestation for power that has fractured the MDC-T ahead of elections expected in the next few months.
According to Mudzuri however, Tsvangirai remains the opposition coalition’s presidential candidate.