Ailing Morgan Tsvangirai Refuses to Eat Over Wife Elizabeth

Ailing MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai has been placed into an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at a Johannesburg hospital after he refused to eat for 10 days due to the alleged ill-treatment of his wife Elizabeth by his family, the Daily News On Sunday can reveal.

MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai

MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai

by Gift Phiri

Elizabeth has been barred from seeing her husband by senior figures within the Tsvangirai family who, according to a leaked audio tape, have also seized his diplomatic passport as the factionalism ripping the MDC apart is said to have extended to the former prime minister’s family.

The sad developments are said to have contributed to the rapid deterioration of the health of the former PM in the stability-inducing unity government which has driven the MDC to the brink of splitting.

Recently, government came to the rescue of Tsvangirai when it deployed armed police guards to stave off the former unionist’s alleged relatives who had wanted to raid his Highlands home of household property.

Yesterday, the Daily News On Sunday was told that now Tsvangirai has been diagnosed with a kidney tumour which is in an advanced stage and has grown into the liver.
Tsvangirai is under the care of specialist physician and pulmonologist Gunter K Schleicher, who is working with two specialist physicians and a specialist anaesthetist.

Sources said before Tsvangirai’s health had further deteriorated, he had wanted to travel to Zimbabwe to try and stop the ugly infighting in the MDC but had his passport confiscated by one of his brothers.

According to the leaked audio tape in possession of the Daily News On Sunday, Tsvangirai protested the seizure of his passport in a bedside meeting held 12 days ago attended by nephew Hebson Makuvise, his brothers Manase and Collins, sister Dzidzai and his uncle a Sekuru Zvaipa.

“Taurai zvamunotaura mukoma asi passport hamuiwani (You can say what you want but you won’t get the passport),” Manase says in a recording in possession of the Daily News on Sunday. “Iri pairi, haina kupiswa (It’s somewhere, we haven’t burnt it).”

“Do you know it’s a criminal offence?” an agitated Tsvangirai interjects

“It’s a criminal offence tozviziva (we know),” Manasa shoots back.

“Ndipei passport yangu. Ini ndiri kuti ndipei passport yangu (Give me my passport), what’s the problem,” Tsvangirai protests.

“Zvauri kutaura iwewe (What you are saying), you are right, isusu we are also right,” Manase insists.

Tsvangirai interjects in a faint voice: “This passport is a new passport, it is a diplomatic passport and I may want to use it.”

“Ndipei passport yangu ndigare nayo. Asi kana mavakuti mavakuita zvamavakuita, ini handichaidi. (Let me keep my passport. If you don’t want with it, then I don’t want it anymore,” Tsvangirai said in the tape.

Family spokesperson Makuvise told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday Tsvangirai cannot return home because he was undergoing treatment.

“Uri kupi Tsvangirai, (where is he) he is detained in hospital. Munhu anonzi ainde Zimbabwe achigwara (They want him to return home when he is sick),” he asked rhetorically.

Told that the MDC wants him home to deal with the deadly MDC factionalism, he retorted: “Musangano ka uyu. Passport harisi reMDC, ndera Tsvangirai. Politics idzodzo dzakapata. Vanodzoka kumusha kuzodii? I am holding on to the passport iye ari pamubedha ari kurapwa? (The passport is not an MDC document, it’s Tsvangirai’s document. This has nothing to do with the MDC, it’s a family issue.)”

After that confrontation, coupled with the barring of his wife, the Daily News On Sunday understands that Tsvangirai then refused to eat.

His health deteriorated sharply and doctors who examined him reportedly told the family that the hunger strike was threatening to do permanent damage to his organs.
He was then carted into the ICU.

The Daily News on Sunday can report that Tsvangirai wanted to return home to anoint his successor, and put down direct defiance of his order.

The MDC is being devoured by factional fights which have intensified ever since Tsvangirai hinted that he was thinking of quitting active politics due to his failing health.

The once-dogged labour union leader has been in and out of South African hospitals for cancer of the colon treatment in the last months.

As his health continues to worry his supporters and family, his senior officials in the MDC have been going at each other hammer and tongs with different factions punting their preferred candidates to succeed the former PM.

On Thursday, the infighting within the MDC degenerated into comical scenes as the VPs publicly clashed while Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, was forced to call an urgent press conference to tell journalists that he was still in charge of communication and had indeed been instructed by the former PM in the inclusive government to communicate the appointment of Chamisa as acting president.

Tsvangirai’s family on Friday came out backing one of the MDC vice presidents Elias  Mudzuri who insists that he’s in charge of the party in the absence of the former PM.

Mudzuri, 60, on Friday also claimed to have seen Tsvangirai at the top-notch 190-bed top-notch Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre (WDGMC) in Johannesburg, South Africa and claimed he was still the acting president.

“I had the privilege of meeting president Tsvangirai. Meeting him again today. I am still the acting president until his return. Please stay focused on strengthening the party and winning elections. Ignore falsehoods. Victory is certain,” Mudzuri said on microblogging site Twitter on Friday.

His claim was backed by Tsvangirai’s eldest son Edwin during an interview with South African Broadcasting Corporation.

However, another Tsvangirai’s son Vincent told the Daily News on Sunday the hospital has dramatically tightened the rules on his dad’s hospital visitors since he slipped into semi-consciousness.

“VP Mudzuri is lying. My dad is currently not receiving any visitors. He has not seen anyone in the last 48 hours and will not see anyone in the next 48 hours,” he said.

Apart from being worried by ugly MDC factional fights, Tsvangirai has had to watch his wife being denied access to him by his relatives.

Last week, our sister paper, the Daily News, exclusively revealed that Tsvangirai’s family members were refusing to allow Elizabeth, to see him at the WDGMC.

Close relatives of the MDC leader accuse Elizabeth of backing Chamisa to succeed Tsvangirai and fear she could put pressure on him to facilitate his ascendancy to the throne without following the party’s constitution.

Elizabeth did not deny the ill-treatment and told the Daily News: “I will only talk when all this is over, when my husband is out of hospital. Right now I am concentrating on my husband’s sickness. Whatever is happening, I have no comment. When my husband is fully recovered, I will make a statement.”

Tsvangirai’s wife enjoys cordial relations with the youthful acting MDC president.

Tsvangirai wed Elizabeth (nee Macheka) in September 2012.

Mnangagwa Deploys Heavily Armed Police As Family Fight Over Tsvangirai Property

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government on Sunday came to the rescue of ailing MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai when it deployed armed police guards to stave off the former prime minister’s alleged relatives who had wanted to raid his Highlands home of household property.

The visit to Tsvangirai’s residence by his relatives comes as they have been caught up in the ugly MDC infighting which has seen his wife, Elizabeth, being denied access to him on account she is trying to influence the ascendency of one of the party’s vice presidents, Nelson Chamisa, to succeed her ailing husband.

Tsvangirai is said to be in a critical but “stable” condition at a South African hospital where he has been receiving treatment for cancer of the colon, which has kept him out of active involvement with the MDC for over four months.

Acting police commissioner-general Godwin Matanga did not deny that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) had deployed armed guards to Tsvangirai’s residence but told the Daily News that the Police Protection Unit (PPU) did not directly fall under his office.

The PPU was the one deployed to Tsvangirai’s residence.

Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu said he could not confirm the incident as he was yet to get a briefing.

“I have not been given any details regarding that. I haven’t been briefed about that yet. I can only do that after getting the brief,” Mpofu told the Daily News yesterday.

Sources within Tsvangirai’s own security told the Daily News that three people who claimed to be the former PM’s relatives turned up at his Highlands mansion on Sunday unannounced and asked to gain access into the main house to “pick some things”.

Tsvangirai’s immediate family members, Elizabeth and his children were said to be in South Africa when the relatives pitched up at the residence.

However, sources within the deeply-divided Tsvangirai’s family, said most relatives had turned against Elizabeth and the impromptu visit last Sunday, at a time they knew there was no one at the residence, served to underline this.

“They sent people to Tsvangirai’s house who claimed to represent the family  and wanted to take things out and they were denied entry by the security who became suspicious and demanded to know what exactly they wanted to take out,” said the source.

“They only left after Tsvangirai’s security called the police otherwise they wanted to get in by force. Nobody ever got to know what exactly they wanted to take out because they insisted that they wanted something inside.

“It later became clear that they wanted to transfer property to Tsvangirai’s old Strathaven home where he used to stay with his late wife, Susan, before the inclusive government in 2009,” added the source.

The Daily News yesterday exclusively revealed that Tsvangirai’s family members are refusing to allow Elizabeth, to see him at the top-notch 190-bed Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre (WDGMC) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Close relatives of the MDC leader accuse Elizabeth of backing Chamisa to succeed Tsvangirai and fear she could put pressure on him to facilitate his ascendancy to the throne without following the party’s constitution.

Tsvangirai’s wife enjoys cordial relations with the youthful acting MDC president.

Tsvangirai wed Elizabeth (nee Macheka) in September 2012.

The Daily News was told a war of words which almost degenerated into a fist-fight erupted at the hospital last week, when Tsvangirai’s family members tried to bar Elizabeth from seeing him, with physicians drawn into the complicated family situation.

Tsvangirai’s son, Vincent, was reportedly restrained from assaulting his step-mum after clashing with Elizabeth.

He reportedly vowed that she will never be allowed near his father as long as he lives.

Elizabeth did not deny the ill-treatment and told the Daily News: “I will only talk when all this is over, when my husband is out of hospital. Right now I am concentrating on my husband’s sickness. Whatever is happening, I have no comment. When my husband is fully recovered, I will make a statement.”

A senior MDC official who declined to be named alleged the Tsvangirai family was being manipulated by a top MDC financier (name withheld) with ulterior motives for choreographing the succession in the MDC.

“His wife was told to go away and could not see her husband. It is spousal abuse,” he said.

He accused the family of abusing an ailing Tsvangirai for their own interests, along with a cabal of MDC leaders pushing their proxies to succeed the MDC leader.

The MDC is being devoured by factional fights which have intensified ever since Tsvangirai hinted that he was thinking of quitting active politics due to his failing health.

Tsvangirai’s health deteriorated at the weekend with party and family sources urging the nation “to brace for the worst”.

The once-dogged labour union leader has been in and out of South African hospitals for cancer of the colon treatment in the last months.

As his health continues to worry his supporters and family, his senior officials in the MDC have been going at each other hammer and tongs with different factions punting their preferred candidates to succeed the former PM.

On Wednesday, his two deputies Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe and secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, were accused of hobnobbing with the defeated Zanu PF G40 faction and former vice president Joice Mujuru, who now leads the National People’s Party (NPP) which has so far refused to join the MDC Alliance.

This was after they undertook a trip to Cape Town for a workshop which was rubbished by the party which described their journey as a “shame”.

And on Thursday, the infighting within the MDC degenerated into comical scenes as the VPs publicly clashed while Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, was forced to call an urgent press conference to tell journalists that he was still in charge of communications and had indeed been instructed by the former PM in the inclusive government to communicate the appointment of Chamisa as acting president.

“I want to place it on record that I am the official spokesperson of the president and what I place on the market are his views as instructed personally by him. That position has not changed.

“I also want to place it on record that there is a purported statement from the office of the president that seeks to nullify what the president himself directed that I communicate. For the record, that letter is on a fraudulent letterhead with a scanned signature of the president, which signature is readily available online.

“The office of the president has not released such a letterhead to anyone and the president, who is currently in SA, has not asked for it for him to place his purported letter. In short, the so-called letter is fraudulent and bogus,” Tamborinyoka told journalists.

He said Chamisa had already assumed his responsibilities in an acting capacity as directed by Tsvangirai.

At the same time, a letter purportedly written by Tsvangirai dismissing Chamisa’s appointment as acting president, emerged. Tamborinyoka said it was a hoax.

“I have been advised of communication being circulated within the party and public generally, regarding changes to MDC authority levels. The communication is false as I have made no such changes in the roles and responsibilities of the MDC vice presidents.

“The letter serves to confirm that the authority I vested in you as president of the MDC party still stands and any other pronunciations are null and void and invalid,” Tsvangirai allegedly said in the letter that was copied to Chamisa, Khupe and Mudzuri.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu appeared to confirm the authenticity of the letter when he said Tamborinyoka had not been authorised to hold his press conference and maintained that Mudzuri was acting president, not Chamisa.

“I don’t know who authorised him (Tamborinyoka) to call for the conference. In the interim, I maintain that I have been authoritatively advised that Mudzuri remains the acting president of the MDC. I am not going to attend Luke’s press conference because I have got absolutely no appetite to witness a circus,” Gutu told the Daily News.

Dzamara Among Six In Cought For Fighting Deputy Finance Minister Terrence Mukupe

Six men were last week arraigned before the courts for allegedly calling deputy finance minister Terrence Mukupe a thief and threatening to bash him in a dispute over land.

Caledonia settlers Tawanda Dzamara, 33, Mapfumo Brian Madzorera, 36, Mohammad William, 38, Shingirirayi Banoni, 35, Alfred Mutizwa 34 and Shupikai Nyakabau, 26, were not asked to plead when they appeared before magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa last Thursday.

They were remanded to February 26 on $50 bail each.

The incident occurred earlier this month at Eastview Phase 6 where the accused are members of Tasangana Housing Co-operative Society.

Along with accomplices yet to be apprehended, the six reportedly hectored the minister after learning that he had supposedly occupied a piece of land they claimed to own had been occupied.

On the day in question, Mukupe, who is also Harare East legislator, had reportedly brought land developers and earthmoving equipment to the site.

This angered the accused who then approached the minister’s security guards, one Joseph Madenyika and a Edson Muchabaiwa.

Prosecutors say the suspects displayed disorderly conduct by threatening the minister’s guards.

One of the accused allegedly produced a baseball bat and used it to assault the two guards while another suspect shouted at Mukupe calling him a thief and threatening to bash him.

The case was reported, leading to the arrest of the six men.

Linda Gadzikwa appeared for the State.

Mnangagwa Steps Down

Zimbabwe First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has stepped down as Member of Parliament for Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe with effect from today.

This was announced by President Emerson Mnangagwa at a mini-rally in Chirumanzu where he said although he had taken the opportunity to address the crowd, his main mission was to announce his wife’s stepping down.

Auxillia Mnanagwa had remained a legislator when her husband took over the presidency on 24 November causing Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda a headache on how to address her in the House.

At one time, the Speaker had to order her bodyguard out of the House when she walked with the First Lady into Parliament.