The ousting of former president Robert Mugabe and his replacement with Emmerson Mnangagwa is reported to have rekindled bitter fighting within the main opposition Movement for Democratic change led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
According to The Standard, one of Tsvangirai’s deputies, Thokozani Khupe, is mobilising party supporters to hold a special congress to force Tsvangirai to step down on health grounds.
Mugabe was forced to resign after a faction that was allegedly loyal to him called a special congress to prop wife to vice-president, but this was scuttled by the military which intervened to “restore legacy”.
The Standard says Tsvangirai, who has been in and out of hospital since he was diagnosed with cancer last year, is back in South Africa for medical treatment and is expected back tomorrow.
Party spokesman Obert Gutu is, however, reported to have rubbished the claim.
Khupe is believed to have the backing of five provinces, Bulawayo, Midlands South, Manicaland, Bulawayo and part of Harare. She is also supported by external branches in the United Kingdom, South Africa and United States.
The paper also quotes Khupe as saying she is working well with Tsvangirai.
However, one source reportedly told The Standard: “As we speak, a lot of jostling is taking place across the country. The same people who were opposed to the MDC Alliance are telling people that the only way the MDC can win against Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF is for the party to have a new candidate.”
Mnangagwa has won the hearts of the people and reports say he could win the election, even in Matebeleland where he is reportedly loathed for his role in Gukurahundi, if it were held now.
People were, however, not happy with some of his cabinet appointments as some were tainted with corruption allegations.
They have also welcomed his budget apart from the allocation for health.
There have been complaints from the MDC-T that Mnangagwa “stole” their economic recovery plan, which means they have to come up with a new strategy to beat him.