Tsvangirai hints at retirement

Harare – Opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is battling cancer of the colon, on Monday provided the clearest hint yet that he is considering stepping down due to failing  health.

 Tsvangirai has been in and out of hospital recently, leading to calls  for him to hand over power for the opposition to stand a chance at the  polls this year against a rejuvenated ZANU-PF.

However, analysts contend that the MDC-T could split again along  factional lines if Tsvangirai stepped down as its leader.

 In a New Year message to his supporters, Tsvangirai said the new season  had presented him with an opportunity to ponder about his future.

 “At a personal level, I feel an air of satisfaction as I reflect on the  great journey we have travelled together even as I seriously ponder  about the future,” he said.

 “I am looking at the imminent prospects of us as the older generation  leaving the levers of leadership to allow the younger generation to take  forward this huge task that we started together so many years ago.”

 Tsvangirai, who has led the MDC-T since its formation in 1999, said his  appointment of two vice presidents, Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri,  was meant to provide the party with a clear succession plan.

 “It was therefore not by accident that when I disclosed to you my  health status I also took a bold step to appoint an additional two vice  presidents to assist me. While politicians only think about the next  election, true statesmen think about the next generation for current  leaders are only but future generations. We do not have any entitlement  to lead but we have a duty to serve,” he said.

 “We must recognize the imperative that new hands, with the full  blessing of the people, must take this struggle and this country forward  with the destination remaining the same.”

 Meanwhile, Tsvangirai commended President Emmerson Mnangagwa for  visiting him at his home last week.

 He said the visit signified the opening of a new page in Zimbabwean  politics.

 “The visit can be built upon by truly well-meaning Zimbabweans to  herald a new politics of engagement in our country,” he said.

 President Mnangagwa and his deputy retired General Constantino Chiwenga  on Friday visited Tsvangirai at his Highlands home to check on his  condition and spent more than an hour together in a move that surprised  many people but was welcomed as a spirit of good will.

– New Ziana.

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