19 September 2017

Zimbabwe: Ailing Tsvangirai Piqued By 'Gruesome' Media

Photo: MDC-T
MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai addressing a rally (file photo).

Ailing MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has expressed his growing impatience "a gruesome media" which he says has continued to cast him as a dying man.

The former prime minister was speaking through spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka on Monday.

Tsvangirai, who is battling cancer of the colon, was last Thursday flown to South Africa for treatment after his fragile condition had reportedly deteriorated.

His illness has rattled the opposition with his lieutenants reportedly firming up for his job.

Unconfirmed media reports said Monday that the MDC-T leader's chronic illness has triggered fierce jostling for power within his party with some lobbying for him to step down on health grounds and hand over power to youthful deputy, Nelson Chamisa.

Tsvangirai's ailment is also feared could destabilise an anti-Zanu PF coalition among the country's mainstream parties that have thrown their support behind his presidential candidature.

But in attempts to wade off fears around his recovery prospects and in clear signs he was keen on keeping his job, a piqued Tsvangirai said through his spokesperson on Monday that his condition was stable.

"President Tsvangirai is responding well to routine medical procedure in South Africa and he has laughed off gruesome press reports about his condition," said Tamborinyoka, who earlier had described the media reports around his boss's poor health as 'morbid'.

"In a five-minute conversation this (Monday) morning, President Tsvangirai, who was accompanied by his wife for the routine medical process in South Africa, gave the assurance that he is responding well to treatment and urged Zimbabweans not to panic.

"He reiterated his message that Zimbabweans must concentrate on registering to vote in the next elections."

Tsvangirai described those who have written him off as prophets of doom who belonged to party enemies keen on seeing the collapse of an opposition coalition against President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF in next year's elections.

"President Tsvangirai said there was no need for national alarm about his condition, adding that several prophets of doom were keen on creating despondence by pouring cold water on the emerging convergence in the country on which Zimbabweans have pinned their hope," Tamborinyoka said.

"He (Tsvangirai) said, like everyone else, he was mortal but regretted that naysayers had begun a desperate campaign to feed on his temporary indisposition by spreading alarm and despondency in the nation.

"He assured the nation that he would be home soon to pursue the mammoth campaign to usher in a new dispensation next year."

While the ex-premier continues to deny claims he was on his deathbed, there has been little evidence presented to the contrary.

Analysts say the demise of the charismatic opposition leader months before the 2018 elections could spell doom for a hugely divided opposition which has been attempted to mask its differences lately in attempts to forge a strong anti-Zanu PF alliance.

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