SW Radio Africa (London)

25 April 2014

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Appoints Chief Political Strategist

MDC-T President Morgan has appointed US based academic and political analyst, Dr Maxwell Shumba, as his chief political strategist.

Tsvangirai's chief of staff Abisha Nyanguwo confirmed that Shumba will advise the party leader on a range of political and economic issues and will work alongside officials in Tsvangirai's Harvest House office. Nyanguwo said Shumba would provide 'significant support' in an advisory role.

Shumba, the founding chairman of the MDC-T in the United States and an original member of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), is expected to travel to Harare shortly for strategy meetings with Tsvangirai.

After that he will participate in 'regular' discussions with the team, before setting up base in Zimbabwe. Shumba told SW Radio Africa on Friday that he was excited about his new job which will be to develop action plans designed to achieve electoral victories.

'The MDC-T has been winning many of the elections in Zimbabwe but they have failed to rule. Without giving away much, we are busy developing strategies to convert an electoral win to executive power,' Shumba said.

In 2008, the MDC-T leader is believed to have defeated President Robert Mugabe in the presidential poll, but the military junta prevented Tsvangirai from taking over as the new President.

'It's not going to be business as usual... there are many things that have to change,' said Shumba, whose priority would be to proffer advise to his boss on how to unite the fractured main opposition party.

'My message to every democrat in Zimbabwe is let us unite, without unity, we are not going anywhere. To colleagues in the renewal team, there is also an opportunity to sit down and find ways to reengage,' he said.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Independent reported on Friday that financial challenges facing the MDC-T continue to mount, amid indications that Tsvangirai is seeking funding from Botswana, Gabon and Ivory Coast.

The paper said Tsvangirai is seeking funding assistance for an early congress, in the aftermath of an internal crisis triggered by calls for him to step down.

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