Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) acting president Nelson Chamisa speaks to the press in Harare. Picture: Shaun Jusa/Xinhua

Harare ‑ Zimbabwe's main opposition political party MDC-T has endorsed on Thursday, Nelson Chamisa as the late Morgan Tsvangirai’s successor, in the process giving party vice-president Thokozani Khupe an ultimatum.

The MDC-T national executive and national council met for about six hours on Thursday to deliberate on various contentious succession issues that have been threatening to split the opposition party.

“In line with Article 18 as read together with Article 9.21.1 of the party constitution, the party, through the national council, has resolved that Hon Advocate Nelson Chamisa is confirmed as the party’s substantive leader and presidential candidate for 2018,” MDC-T presidential spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said.

The party also gave Thokozani, national chairman Lovemore Moyo and national organising secretary Abednigo Bhebhe a seven-day ultimatum to come forth for engagement, failure to which action will be taken.

Ironically, the meeting raised concern over injustice meted against Khupe, Moyo and Bhebhe at the burial of the late Tsvangirai and applauded Chamisa for taking “immediate action” and ordering “an investigation into what happened with the aim of ensuring that stern action is against the culprits”.

The meeting also endorsed the MDC-alliance, which is a coalition of seven political parties that are committed to working together in the 2018 elections.

Harvest House building, the MDC-T headquarters, it was resolved, will be renamed Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House in honour of the late founding president of the party.

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu was also suspended pending disciplinary action. His deputy, Thabitha Khumalo, takes over in the interim. 

Tsvangirai’'s death left the party in a tricky position barely five months before the polls.

Jostling for control of the party began within 24 hours of Tsvangirai’s passing-on, with Chamisa quickly moving to consolidate his grip on power. 

Khupe argued that she was the only constitutionally-elected vice-president, while another vice-president, Elias Mudzuri, said that he was appointed acting by Tsvangirai before he left for South Africa to seek medical attention.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission recently said elections would be held between July 21 and August 21 this year.

African News Agency/ANA