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Zimbabwe opposition MDC-T party salutes late leader  

HARARE, (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC-T party on Thursday saluted its late leader Morgan Tsvangirai as a “doyen of democracy” who deserves national hero status.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in the capital Harare after the party’s national council meeting, acting party president Nelson Chamisa said the MDC-T had been devastated by the death which comes a few months before crucial elections mid-year.

“We have lost a great giant. We are very much saddened that we have lost our very crucial soldier at a very important and crucial moment. We are just four months away from an election. We have lost a commander,” Chamisa said.

He said the greatest thing they can do to Tsvangirai’s legacy is winning the upcoming polls.

Party national chairman Morgan Komichi said the national council resolved to appoint Nelson Chamisa as the party’s acting president for the next 12 months.

The party had also suspended its programs until after Tsvangirai’s burial, Komichi said.

Meanwhile, two other party deputies, Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe, did not attend the meeting of the national council, the party’s highest decision-making body outside congress.

The party’s three leaders, Chamisa, Mudzuri and Khupe, are clashing over who should succeed Tsvangirai who succumbed to colon cancer in a South African hospital on Wednesday aged 65.

He had been battling the disease since 2016.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe government has announced that it will help Tsvangirai’s family to meet funeral expenses.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday sent a condolence message to the Tsvangirai family, saying Tsvangirai would be remembered especially for his readiness to stretch and reach out across the political divide for a government of national unity after the polarizing 2008 elections.

“Both in and after the government of national unity, he remained a national figure who obdurately insisted on free, fair, credible and non-violent elections as a way of strengthening our democracy and our overall re-engagement with the rest of the world,” Mnangagwa said.



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