OPPOSITION MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai and one of his three deputies, Nelson Chamisa, have been invited to attend the inauguration of Ghanaian President-elect, Nana Akufo-Addo at the weekend.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Impeccable sources told NewsDay there had been a “near stampede” within the MDC-T by officials who wanted to be part of Tsvangirai’s entourage.
“Tsvangirai and Chamisa are going to Ghana, but this week has been hectic with some people seeking to be part of the visit. Chamisa was invited by senior officials in Akufo-Addo’s incoming administration because he was with them at Stanford University in the United States a few years ago.
“Tsvangirai’s invitation was facilitated by Chamisa, who realised if he were to travel alone, this would send a wrong political message,” NewsDay heard.
Party spokesperson, Obert Gutu confirmed Tsvangirai would be travelling to Ghana, adding the invitation was an indication of the “confidence Africans have in the MDC”.
“I can confirm that the president and one of his deputies, Nelson Chamisa, will be in Ghana at the weekend for President Akufo-Addo’s swearing-in ceremony set for Saturday (tomorrow). For us in the MDC, it is a clear indication of the confidence that African leaders have in our capabilities as the government-in-waiting in Zimbabwe.
“As a social democratic party with growing pan-Africanist credentials, we are excited that a greater number of democratic establishments on the continent take us seriously,” he said.
President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba, could not be drawn into commenting on whether the Zanu PF leader had also been invited.
“As far as I am concerned, the President is on leave,” Charamba said curtly.
Mugabe, at 92, is Africa’s oldest Head of State, but has already indicated he will contest the presidential elections next year at 94.
Regionally, Tsvangirai has a long-standing good working relationship with Botswana leader Ian Khama, who on a number of occasions has had run-ins with Mugabe over the latter’s perceived autocratic tendencies and rights abuses. The MDC-T leader also enjoys warm relations with opposition parties in Kenya.
Akufo-Addo will officially be sworn-in as Ghana’s President tomorrow, after winning convincingly in the country’s just-ended presidential elections in which he defeated incumbent, John Mahama Dramani.
Ghana is one of Africa’s most stable democracies and has seen successive peaceful changes of government since former military ruler, Jerry Rawlings handed over power after losing elections to John Kufuor in 2001.