OPPOSITION MDC-T youth and women's assemblies have come out guns blazing against attempts to railroad former Prime Minister and party leader Morgan Tsvangirai into retiring before this year's general election.
In separate statements Tuesday in the wake of Tsvangirai's hint that he might handover power and the resultant intense jockeying for power y his top lieutenants, the two groups also warned against factional fights now gnawing at the opposition party.
"The MDCT Youth Assembly has noted President Morgan Tsvangirai's new year message and commit ourselves to rally our troops to the work at hand which is to deliver real change to the people of Zimbabwe....
"We have also noted the appointment of vice president engineer Elias Mudzuri as the acting president. As true vanguards, we stand guided by the president's proclamation and we wish everyone in the party to focus on the task at hand by fully cooperating with the authority to ensure that our party programmes continue to run," secretary general Lovemore Chinoputsa said in the statement.
Mudzuri and his colleague Nelson Chamisa were appointed as Tsvangirai's deputies in 2015 after the MDC-T leader announced he was battling colon cancer. The two are now seen as frontrunners to succeed the veteran opposition leader.
Amid reports Tsvangirai has indicated his willingness to anoint Chamisa, the youth assembly warned Mudzuri should be given space to exercise power.
"Sabotaging the Acting President or any of the VPs on their assigned tasks will be tantamount to sabotaging our dear leader. Let us all be guided accordingly," the statement said.
"As the last line of defence, we welcome President Tsvangirai's honesty and transparency in communicating with the people of Zimbabwe his affliction with regards to his health status.
"Never before have we witnessed such statesmanship in this country. Indeed, President Tsvangirai is a rare species!!!!"
Tsvangirai, the youth assembly further warned, should "be given an opportunity to recuperate without hurrying him to make lifelong decisions that have a bearing on our chances of wrestling the Presidency from the incompetent Mnangagwa administration."
"We are convinced that with enough rest and proper medication, President Tsvangirai will take us through the elections and deliver the much-needed freedom, democracy and economic emancipation," Chinoputsa added.
The youth assembly declared Tsvangirai remains the party's candidate in the upcoming elections
"Under no circumstances will we allow that situation and position to change. History is replete with a number of people who stood as candidates while still under the weather but went on to recuperate and lead their countries".
The MDC-T's women's wing also weighed in saying: "The Assembly of women expresses its support for Morgan Tsvangirai at a critical time towards ensuring that all party structures rally behind MT and express their support through engaging in mass voter education and registration.
"The Assembly of Women has always stood by MT (Tsvangirai) even when other party members might be tempted to stampede him into making the unfortunate decision to throw in the towel."