MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa sang praises for his predecessor Morgan Tsvangirai Thursday, describing the late opposition leader as a tolerant politician who took a lot of abuse by the Zanu PF-led regime but still resisted temptations to take up arms.
Chamisa was giving his keynote address during the MDC Alliance launch of its 2018 election manifesto in Harare.
The MDC Alliance leader said he wished Tsvangirai could have been the one to front the main opposition's fresh bid to land State authority in elections due 30 July this year.
"I would have wanted Dr Tsvangirai to be here, I would have wanted Dr Tsvangirai to be the one articulating this vision," he said to loud applause from hundreds of MDC followers who packed the hall.
"I would have wanted Dr Tsvangirai as the founding father of democracy, as the icon of democracy in Zimbabwe to be leading the charge.
Nelson Chamisa in Harare Thursday
"But we are unfortunately without him. The good news is that he has left a person who is able to carry his vision forward and I am here to carry that vision forward."
Tsvangirai, the MDC's founding leader, died 14 February this year following a protracted battle with colon cancer.
Chamisa, who was one of Tsvangirai's deputies, was quick to stampede his colleagues away from the MDC's top job with claims by his allies the late opposition leader anointed the 40-year-old as his successor.
In his address, Chamisa praised his one-time boss for exercising restraint in the face of continued provocation by then President Robert Mugabe's regime which once blocked him (Tsvangirai) from becoming State president when all indications had shown he had won the 2008 elections.
"So, as we salute Dr Richard Morgan Tsvangirai," Chamisa said, "we also do this in tribute to his heroic contributions over the years; 18 years is not a joke to contribute to nation building, to contribute to democratic alternative politics.
"A lot of people would have been tempted to take up arms, to take guns to fight and to retaliate. We have been subjected to violence, to harassment.
"President Tsvangirai said 'no we are a movement for democratic change. We do not believe in violence'."