Family members of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai are reportedly blocking his wife Elizabeth from visiting him in hospital after they accused her of backing one of the party's three vice presidents to succeed him.
Tsvangirai is being treated for cancer at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Johannesburg. There have been conflicting reports on the state of his health, with some suggesting he was "battling for his life".
"Close relatives of the MDC leader accuse Elizabeth of backing MDC vice president Nelson Chamisa to succeed Tsvangirai and fear she could put pressure on him to facilitate his ascendancy to the throne without following the party's constitution," the private Daily News reports.
Chamisa is just one of three MDC vice president's vying for control of the party in Tsvangirai's absence. On Wednesday, Tsvangirai's spokesperson said Chamisa had been made acting president. But this was shot down by party spokesperson, Obert Gutu, who said former Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri is still in charge.
Mudzuri was appointed acting president in January when Tsvangirai left for his latest round of treatment. In a tweet Friday Mudzuri, who is himself currently in South Africa, claimed to have met Tsvangirai and said he was due to meet him a second time on Friday.
"I am still the Acting President until his return. Please stay focused on strengthening the party and winning elections. Ignore falsehoods," Mudzuri said.
Elizabeth Tsvangirai told the Daily News she would only issue a statement once her husband was out of hospital.
"Right now, I'm concentrating on my husband's sickness. Whatever is happening, I have no comment," she said.