Maverick politician Joseph Chinotimba caught everyone in Parliament by surprise yesterday when he took advantage of an intervention by Speaker Jacob Mudenda to congratulate Movement for Democratic Change Vice-President Thokozani Khupe for attaining her doctorate degree to ask her two colleagues Elias Mudzuri and Nelson Chamisa if they were not preparing to take over from party leader Morgan Tsvangirai if he dies.
Mudenda briefly interrupted the debate on the President speech to congratulate Khupe who was capped by President Robert Mugabe last week.
“Before I call for any further debate, allow me to recognise that one of us, Hon. Khupe has been respected and honoured by being capped at the University of Zimbabwe with a doctorate degree, Mudenda said.
“I am aware that about five more amongst us are working towards attaining that level of academic excellence and I wish to encourage them to complete their doctorates in the footsteps of Dr. Khupe. I am also aware that there are others who are proceeding with their Master’s and first degrees, please do not give up, you will not be disappointed in the end.”
Chinotimba, after raising a point of order, said: “May I start by congratulating Hon. Dr. Khupe for the doctorate. My question is since we are Zimbabweans and whenever one of us is sick, as a family we are also affected.
“My question is directed to the Vice Presidents of the Opposition Hon. Mudzuri and Hon. Chamisa. May these members inform this House on the condition of the MDC T party leader Mr. M. Tsvangirai and are they not preparing for the takeover of the party should he die?”
Tsvangirai was rushed to hospital in South Africa last Friday with some reports saying he was critically ill but the party has downplayed his illness saying he went for routine medical check-up and is recovering very well.
On Sunday the social media was rife with reports that Tsvangirai had died but the party refuted this the following day.
Analysts are now drawing parallels between ZANU-PF and the MDC-T, and between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, accusing both parties and leaders of having no clear succession plans.