Why Tsvangirai appointed new deputies

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Tsvangirai and his wife Elizabeth leading protestors in Harare in April

MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai’s decision to appoint two additional Vice-Presidents — which has sparked accusations of regionalism, tribalism and phallocracy or gender bias — was motivated by the veteran opposition leader’s lack of confidence in his long-serving deputy Thokozani Khupe, it has emerged. He also feared that his deputy had ambitions of taking over the party’s leadership and was working against him, among other reasons, insiders said.

Elias Mambo/Herbert Moyo

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This comes as two MDC-T members Patson Murimoga and George Rice filed a High Court application challenging the recent appointments of Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri to the vice-presidency, arguing this was done in violation of the party constitution.

MDC-T insiders told Zimbabwe Independent that Tsvangirai’s decision to elevate Chamisa and Mudzuri to the vice-presidency was meant to neutralise Khupe’s influence, while also managing the party’s succession politics. A senior MDC-T official said Khupe was more so no longer guaranteed of succeeding Tsvangirai should the MDC-T leader, who is battling cancer of the colon, quit or become incapacitated, as she faces competition from the other deputies.

“In fact her position as vice-president is under threat because she could be challenged for the position by some senior guys such as Lovemore Moyo at the next congress,” said the official.

The official said Khupe and MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora had formed an alliance in a bid to take over power at Harvest House given Tsvangirai’s illness.

“They were positioning themselves to succeed him and even went as far as negotiating coalition arrangements with (Zimbabwe People First leader Joice) Mujuru and other opposition parties,” said the party official.

There were reports that Mujuru met with Khupe and Mwonzora in South Africa last month to discuss a possible coalition and explore ways of working together ahead of the 2018 general elections.

Another official close to Tsvangirai said the MDC-T leader had made the appointments to re-energise the party given his ill-health.

“He does not believe that Khupe has capacity to lead the party effectively at this crucial time when elections are around the corner. Chamisa has the energy and charisma to mobilise and Mudzuri’s experience and maturity will also be useful,” said the official. While officials refused to openly comment, Jameson Timba, the party’s shadow secretary for local government took to his Facebook page to publicly suggest that the appointments had been motivated by succession issues.

“Any organisation that fails to do succession planning is doomed to die with the death or incapacitation of its current leader. MDC is not one of such organisations,” Timba wrote on his Facebook post on Saturday, a day after the appointments.

“Let’s keep our eyes on the prize and the finishing line. Real power is in Munhumutapa building and not Harvest House. Our focus should be on strengthening ourselves internally to be able to get it,” Timba added two days later.

Tsvangirai’s decision has also been criticised as being tribal, while some critics argued it slowed down the advancement of women. Another senior official, however, said tribalism was not the issue, arguing Bulawayo and the Matabeleland region had four senior positions in the party’s standing committee, claims rejected by those against the appointments.

7 thoughts on “Why Tsvangirai appointed new deputies”

  1. ROYAL MTHWAKAZI says:

    Some of us long knew for sure tribalism reigns supreme in the MDC-T. I knew Khuphe would never succeed Tswangirayi. Even in the days of the old united MDC, we knew Gibson Sibanda would never succeed Tswangirayi. The same is the case in ZANU PF – the Mthwakazi Deputy is never in the succession matrix. We dealing with Shona people by the way. To expect a Cyril Ramaphosa in Zim politics is to day dream!!

  2. Ndabaningi Mwenje says:

    Tsvangirai lacked political astuteness in the appointment of Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri as vice presidents. First, the two chaps are both Karangas from Masvingo with Chamisa coming from Gutu and Mudzuri coming from Zaka. This reveals his partiality towards the Karangas. Secondly, the appointments are not democratic as MDC-T people were not involved in the selection. Thirdly, the whole thing was unconstitutional as the MDC-T constitution has no provision for the selection of vice presidents by the president.
    Fourthly, Chamisa lost the tussle for the secretary general post to the cantankerous Douglas Mwonzora. What message is now being conveyed to Mwonzora? Very bad, indeed.

  3. Dombo says:

    Very poor article…nothing new here…you should get fired….

  4. Tichaona says:

    The VP must be elected at a conference by representatives to friction

  5. Tichaona says:

    MDC T avoid unnecessary frictions VP should be elected by part representatives, to avoid suspicious activity, in the Leadership, follow ur constitution,

  6. batsiranayi ngugama says:

    There is no problem in reshaping to fight a deadly virus. Tsvangirai has seen that the enemy has always been changing colours and takes new tactics. The appointments are good and i don’t see why those in Zanu PF should comment. I think we should be talking about 15 billion that disappeared. We want accountability and those who stole the money should be arrested. I expected to see people from the top resigning all of them. Chinamasa you budget 4.2 billion for the year, what more of 15 billion? People don’t play with that figure. You hear one person scolding us journalists for writing about such gross inhumane acts. We trained to write. kill us if you want. its painstaking and tiring to see a click of people thinking that they are more important that they want regulate social media such as WhatsApp. No! People are suffering and they need calypsos to endure your stealing.

  7. PETER GANDIDZANWA says:

    APPOINTMENT OF CHAMISA AND MUDZURI WAS AND IS NOT BASED ON TRIBAL LINES . IT IS THE BEST FOR REJUVINATING THE PARTY. WE ARE RARING TO GO AND FULLY SUPPORT WHAT OURPRESIDENT DID. ITS ONE OF THE ISSUES WE AGREED AT SPORTS CENTRE LAST CONGRESS. WHY AGAINST THE APPOINTMENTS. LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE. MUUNO WENYU WAKAMIRA SEI..

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