Zimbabwean opposition MDC picks acting leader

Opposition leader of the movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T) Morgan Tsvangirai gestures during a press conference on February 5 2016 in Harare. Last month the WFP said 14 million people across southern Africa faced going hungry due to the prolonged drought, with the cost of maize -- the regional staple -- in Malawi 73 percent higher than average. "People have no money in their pockets -- a situation exacerbated by food shortages," Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) told a news conference in Harare. / AFP / JEKESAI NJIKIZANA (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has appointed Nelson Chamisa as interim acting party leader until Morgan Tsvangirai, can return to Zimbabwe, MDC spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka said.

Mr. Tsvangirai, is in a South African hospital, suffering from colon cancer for the past two years, and has several times since had to take to Twitter to discount reports of his death.

Mr. Tamborinyoka told a press conference in Harare: “Chamisa has already assumed his responsibilities, albeit in an acting capacity as directed by the president.

“The [MDC] president remains unwell but is stable.”

There has been concern among Zimbabweans as to whether the veteran politician will be able to contest elections later this year.

Mr. Tsvangirai was one of the most vocal opponents of former president Robert Mugabe’s government, suffering beatings and imprisonment for his activism.

A failed power-sharing deal with Mr. Mugabe and several splits in the party’s ranks have weakened the MDC.

In the coming elections, the MDC candidate will be up against Mr. Mugabe’s replacement, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has seen something of a rise in popularity since the military ousted his predecessor after almost four decades in power.

(dpa/NAN)

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