No national hero status for Zimbabwe’s Tsvangirai

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa looks on after delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Harare, Zimbabwe, December 20, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo

The late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai will not be accorded national hero status, according to Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Asked by journalists at the official opening of the new Criminal Investigations Department headquarters in Harare Thursday if Tsvangirai was to be accorded hero status, Mnangagwa responded: “No, no,no!”

He said the late MDC-T leader’s funeral was big, “but not as big . . .”

Earlier, Mnangagwa had sent his message of condolence to the Tsvangirai family, describing the late veteran trade unionist and politician as a national figure and a strong trade unionist.

As tribute to Tsvangirai’s demands for free and fair elections, the President promised that his government would maintain unfettered peace and stability during the upcoming polls.

“We all remember him for his insistence on free, fair and peaceful elections which we must validate in the forthcoming 2018 harmonised elections in tribute to him and our democracy,” Mnangagwa said in a statement.

The Zimbabwean government, Mnangagwa said, which has already instructed its embassy in South Africa to assist the Tsvangirai family, is consulting the “family to determine what else they need to accord the late departed befitting honour”.

Tsvangirai succumbed to cancer of the colon at Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Johannesburg.

Meanwhile, MDC-T national chair Morgen Komichi told journalists at the party’s Harvest House headquarters that the main opposition had agreed to appoint Nelson Chamisa as acting president of the party for the next 12 months.

There has been a protracted struggle to succeed Tsvangirai in the past days, pitting Chamisa against his co-deputy president Elias Mudzuri.

On the other hand, Thokozani Khupe also claims she is the real VP in the opposition party, arguing she was elected and not appointed.

The struggle for power threatens to tear apart the opposition party, which has already suffered huge losses in the past following other breakaway factions.

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