MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai is seriously ill and could be dying anytime soon, the ZANU PF controlled Herald newspaper has claimed.
The paper in a Monday issue has claimed that since Tsvangirai failed to show for his second consecutive rally in Harare, yesterday he is dying because of confessions by his top aides that he is currently unwell.
Party supporters at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield waited more than four hours for Mr Tsvangirai, and faction acting secretary-general Mr Tapiwa Mashakada had to, for the second week running, stand in for Mr Tsvangirai, the article read.
The piece which also says MDC supporters deserted the rally, reads:
Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Mr Luke Tamborinyoka, told journalists that his boss was under the weather, but did not elaborate.
This has fed into speculation, which began before the 2013 elections, that Mr Tsvangirai had a terminal illness.
Last week he inexplicably missed another rally in Glen View.
“All what I can tell you at the moment is that we have received a message from the president’s doctor that he cannot come,” Mr Tamborinyoka said. “He needs to rest. It is important for his health that he rests and that he should not come here.
“I think you must understand the delicacy of the moment. It is a health issue. The doctor says he must rest.”
MDC-T organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa was harangued by the crowd who wanted to know where Mr Tsvangirai was after he gave them an explanation that did not satisfy them.
“When you see things turning out like this it means there are circumstances beyond our control,” he told them in Shona. “We do not organise disappointments but when extenuating circumstances are so contrary to our wishes there is nothing we can do.”
He then said Mr Tsvangirai was “stable”.
However, the crowd started to disperse and in the end Mr Mashakada addressed a handful of supporters.
Billed as an Africa Day star rally, the MDC-T event degenerated into a damp squib that even party vice president Ms Thokozani Khupe and national chairman Mr Lovemore failed to attend.
Also absent were deputy chair Mr Morgan Komichi and women’s assembly boss Mrs Theresa Makone.
Mr Chamisa appeared angered by MDC-T Guardians’ Council leader Ms Sekai Holland’s revelation on Friday that she was last week forced to read a doctored Press statement on her body’s meeting and its resolutions on factional fighting.
Some members of the Guardians’ Council, in what sources said was another choreographed display, were paraded before the crowd and made to sing Mr Tsvangirai’s praises.
Mr James Makore said the council he sat on was a mere body of advisors, without any executive powers.
He added: “Do not seek to grab power, get power democratically. God assigns leaders, Mr Tsvangirai was chosen by God to lead us.”
Mr Job Sikhala, who seemed to have no other message apart from his pro-violence rhetoric, once again called on MDC-T supporters to demonstrate against President Mugabe and Zanu-PF, saying the people must change the Government before the next elections in 2018.