6 February 2018

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Denies Reports He Is Critically Ill

Photo: The Herald
President Emmerson Mnangagwa greets MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and wife Elizabeth Macheka at their residence in Harare (file photo).

MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai, who is battling cancer of the colon and has been in a South African Hospital for the past few weeks, has denied claims he is "critically ill", saying his situation is under control.

Local and International media reported Tuesday Tsvangirai was in critical condition, with Reuters quoting an unnamed party official saying that people should "brace for the worst".

"From the medical report that I received yesterday the situation is not looking good. He is critically ill and we should brace for the worst," the official was quoted as saying.

But the former Prime Minister on Tuesday took to Twitter to deny the claims, maintaining that he was in a stable condition.

"I am shocked to read in the press that I am in a critical condition. Of course, I have cancer and not feeling too well but I am stable and the process is under control. I have been frequently on twitter of late, I am recovering," he tweeted.

Tsvangirai condition deteriorated last December, forcing him to withdraw from the public and concentrate on his health, hinting then that he might have to hand over the button to a younger leader .

Since then, Tsvangirai has been in and out of hospital in South Africa, with his aides saying he was going for routine medical check-up.

This is not the first time that the opposition leader has refuted allegations of his deteriorating health, also denying reports early January saying that he had been given just three months to live.

"It is all speculation. No deadline has been given to me and my family. I am getting routine attention like any other cancer patient and I will be back in Zim shortly. Meanwhile let's all register to vote and those who can attend the alliance rallies. Do not mind the madness," he tweeted then.

Tsvangirai failing health has led to fissures in the country's biggest opposition party, with fierce jostling by his lieutenants to replace him in the event that he hands over power or dies in office.

A tweet on micro blogging site, Twitter under the name "Khupe for Presidency" reportedly run by VP Thokozani Khupe's sympathisers claimed that Nelson Chamisa (co-VP) was recently not allowed to see Tsvangirai.

"Lies. Lies. Lies. So Chamisa made another naked lie on Sunday 4 February that he met president Tsvangirai on Friday 2 February 2018. A family member told us that Chamisa was barred from meeting the president. Why all these lies? A lying leader is a liability to the party," read the tweet.

The situation is also threatening the collapse of the MDC Alliance, a loose coalition of opposition political parties which coalesced to present a formidable challenge to the ruling Zanu PF in elections slated for later this year.

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