13 October 2017

Zimbabwe: Cross Faces Philosophy Hearing

Photo: The Standard
MDC-T supporters (file photo).

Fissures in the beleaguered MDC-T continue to widen amid reports that one of its senior members, Mr Eddie Cross, will face disciplinary action over his utterances on party president Mr Morgan Tsvangirai's health. Mr Cross, who is also MDC-T Policy Coordinator-General, earlier this week posted on his blog that Mr Tsvangirai was seriously ill and "might not be able to handle the election and subsequently the responsibility of being president of a country".

Mr Cross went on to reveal that Mr Tsvangirai was in financial crisis. Addressing journalists at a media conference in the capital yesterday, MDC spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu rubbished Mr Cross' statements, saying they were made on a personal basis which was far from the party's position.

"I'm not going to even dignify the comments of the senior official because he was writing in his personal capacity," he said.

"He has no mandate to speak on behalf of the president's family, he's not the presidential spokesperson." Quizzed on what measures the party was going to take on Mr Cross, Mr Gutu said: "We are a party of discipline and we have internal processes to deal with those kind of issues, although it may not be for public consumption. So, I can't sit here and tell you we're going to do XYZ." Mr Gutu criticised Mr Cross' personality.

"Not only is Honourable Cross a senior member, but he's also an old man, old enough to be your father," he said. "So, obviously the necessary processes will be instituted." Mr Gutu put the likely punitive action to be taken against Mr Cross all bare when he said: "All of us have the duty to be disciplined. And especially when you're talking about matters to do with personal issues, no one has a mandate to talk about the state of anyone's health because there's an issue of confidentiality." Mr Gutu reiterated that Mr Tsvangirai was recovering well and was expected back into the country in a few days from South Africa.

Mr Tsvangirai has since taken an indefinite leave and appointed one of his deputies Dr Thokozani Khupe as the acting president. Bitter exchange of words and verbal fights have characterised the MDC-T since Mr Tsvangirai's disclosure that he was diagnosed with cancer of the colon last year. Some senior party members are openly jostling to assume party leadership in case Mr Tsvangirai gives up.

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