Succession wrangle at Morgan Tsvangirai’s funeral

Morgan Tsvangirai,who died in South Africa after a long battle with colon cancer, was laid to rest on Tuesday (February 20, 2018) at his rural home in Humanikwa Village in Buhera, 200km (124 miles) southeast of the capital Harare. Thousands of people from all walks of life, including his long time rivals, came to pay homage to the opposition icon.

However, the funeral ceremony was earlier interrupted after scuffles broke out between supporters of different factions of Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party. According to the online site of the Zimbabwean Times, senior party officials were chased away by angry youths.

Immediately after Tsvangirai’s death, Nelson Chamisa, one of the party’s vice presidents, took control of the MDC-T. While endorsed by the late leader’s son, Morgan Tsvangirai Jr., Chamisa’s attempt to succeed the late leader is contested by two other deputies, Thokozani Khupe and Elias Mudzuri.

Friends and foes pay hommage

The weather was sombre at the funeral. But the rain could not keep out thousands of supporters and friends, as well as some longtime rivals in politics and government.

Leaders from several opposition parties, the ruling party (ZANU PF) and labor movements from across Africa attended the funeral. Among them were Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga and South Africa’s Moeletsi Mbeki

Nelson Chamisa, the putative new leader of the MDC-T, speaking at Tsvangirai's funeral

[Nelson Chamisa’s bid to take over the leadership of the MDC-T is being disputed within the party]

Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU PF, which Tsvangirai fought all his life, also paid homage to the late opposition leader’s central role in strengthening democracy. Parliamentary speaker Jacob Mudenda called Tsvangirai a “titan of democracy. Nobody will take away from him this status. He earned it through his public commitment to the complete liberation of all the people of Zimbabwe.” Perhaps alluding to the war of succession in the making, Mudenda also called on the MDC-T to stay united.

The MDC in disarray

Tsvangirai’s death leaves his party in a difficult situation five months from the next presidential election. The present infighting does not bode well for the party’s chances against President Emerson Mnangagwa. Political analyst Alexander Rusero says the conflicts are a result of the failure by African leaders to groom successors. According to Rusero, Tsvangirai’s death will impact negatively on any “meaningful opposition politics” of the MDC-T in the near future. “The departure of Tsvangirai, especially at the time when there were attempts by the opposition to form an alliance, is a big blow,” Rusero told DW.

Rusero believes that, with Tsvangirai gone, “there is no comparable personality even close to what he stood for in terms of principles, consistency and charisma.” 

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

External source

Border walls don’t stop viruses. But this might

Why South Africa should consider amnesty for undocumented migrants in the time of the coronavirus outbreak.

Watch it again: Ramaphosa addresses a locked down nation

President Cyril Ramaphosa is scheduled to address the nation on the measures currently being undertaken to contain the coronavirus pandemic

The rule of law in times of crisis: Covid-19 and...

Under a state of national disaster, some rights may be suspended. But it is critical to remember that the Constitution itself is not suspended

Test backlog skews SA’s corona stats

With thousands of samples still waiting to be processed, labs are racing to ramp up testing to help the government gain a better idea of how prevalent Covid-19 really is

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories