AILING: MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is battling cancer, has hinted that he may soon retire from active politics.
Long-time Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has given the strongest indication yet that he is considering retiring from active politics.

The former prime minister, 65, who is battling ill-health, gave the hint during his belated New Year's message.

In an emotional letter, Tsvangirai, who has led the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) since its formation in 1999, said he was seriously pondering the future.

“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, with our full blessing and support,” he said.

The former trade union leader hinted his battle with colon cancer was the reason he was contemplating his future as president of Zimbabwe’s biggest opposition party.

“It was therefore not by accident but by design 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,” Tsvangirai said.

Nelson Chamisa, Thokozani Khupe and Ellias Mudzuri are his deputies.

“As I have said before, while politicians only think about the next election, true statesmen think about the next generation, for current leaders are only but caretakers for future generations.

"We do not have any entitlement to lead, but we have a duty to serve,” Tsvangirai said.

His statements come amid calls from his party to step down.

The calls come a few months after his rival, Robert Mugabe, was deposed as president.

Tsvangirai has claimed that violence and vote-rigging denied him victory against Mugabe at several elections.

He nonetheless defeated him in 2008, but withdrew from the run-off poll after brutality against his supporters by the military, war veterans and Mugabe’s Zanu-PF supporters.

- CAJ News