HARARE - Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday appointed one of his three deputies to take charge of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party while he undergoes cancer treatment in South Africa.
Nelson Chamisa, 40, would lead the party "until the president’s return”, Tsvangirai's spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said in a statement.
"This is in light of the president’s absence and that of the two other vice-presidents (Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe), who are both in South Africa," Tamborinyoka said.
Tsvangirai announced in 2016 that he had colon cancer.
Media reported this week that his condition had deteriorated in recent days, but the 65-year-old Tsvangirai refuted the claims in a post on Twitter saying he was shocked to read that he was critically ill.
I am shocked to read in the press that I am in a critical condition. Of course I have cancer and not feeling too well but I am stable and the process is under control. I have been frequently on twitter of late, I am recovering.— Morgan Tsvangirai (@mrtsvangirai) February 6, 2018
Internecine feuding over Tsvangirai’s successor is threatening to tear the party apart ahead of crucial general elections in which new Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has vowed a clean sweep.
Tsvangirai has led the MDC since its formation in 1999 and the party has posed the most formidable challenge to the ruling Zanu-PF.