JOHANNESBURG – Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change insists that party leader Morgan Tsvangirai is recovering well in a Johannesburg hospital and will be back home soon to prepare for elections.
This follows media reports that Tsvangirai, admitted to hospital in January, was in a critical condition.
A number of senior MDC officials were quoted as saying that Tsvangirai was at death’s door, failing to eat and even passing out.
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu has, however, refuted the claims and said Tsvangirai has been showing "significant progress" and would soon be back in Zimbabwe to prepare for elections scheduled for later this year.
“I can safely say we are very happy with medical services that is being afforded to our president.
“He is actually at one of the best oncology centres in Africa based in Johannesburg. And we are very happy with the steady progress that he is making and we urge the public not to pay too much attention to some of these speculative stories that are just meant to cause alarm and despondency,” he said.
Tsvangirai announced that he had colon cancer in 2016.
His party has been rocked by internal fights as senior members jostle over who would succeed the ailing leader.
Some of the party's alliance members have urged Tsvangirai not to stand for elections and name a successor instead.
“Now Morgan is nowhere to be found, he is not on the platform. Everyone knows that Morgan health-wise cannot stand,” said MDC-Alliance member Gilbert Bgwende.
MDC’s Gutu said there were no divisions within the party and accused the ruling-Zanu PF of spreading the rumours.
“There are no fights in the party. All the fights that I see are fights that I read about on WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter and sometimes in newspapers. We are a united party.
“Sometimes I actually believe its being spread by our detractors. The ruling party to be precise because they're are scared. They know that we are the largest political party,” he said.
Tsvangirai, has been the main challenger to Zanu PF since 1999 when he formed MDC.
He has since set up an alliance with five other opposition parties to challenge Zanu PF led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in this year's elections.