BULAWAYO:MDC president Welshman Ncube has defended MDC-T president Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s presidential candidature in next year’s elections saying despite his failing health, he is still the best candidate to lead the opposition.

Addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Media Centre on Wednesday night, Prof Ncube — who is also the spokesperson for the MDC Alliance — said it was in bad taste for people to be speaking ill of Mr Tsvangirai.

 His comments follow doubts expressed by a top MDC-T official Mr Eddie Cross who felt Mr Tsvangirai could not withstand pressures associated with a rigorous presidential election campaign due to ill health.

Mr Tsvangirai is suffering from cancer of the colon and a month ago had to be airlifted to South Africa for treatment. Yesterday, the frail MDC-T president returned to South Africa for what his spokesperson, Mr Luke Tamborinyoka, described as a “routine” check up.

 Prof Ncube said despite his illness, Mr Tsvangirai is still the best candidate to lead opposition parties in next year’s elections.

“There have been no such calls within the Alliance (calls for Tsvangirai to quit politics). In the Alliance we are very clear that our Alliance candidate is Morgan Tsvangirai and that as an Alliance we shall do everything to campaign for him as the Alliance candidate and campaign collectively for all other Alliance candidates,” said Prof Ncube.

“As an Alliance we remain very focused and in terms of experience, President Tsvangirai remains our best foot forward,” he said.

Prof Ncube said it was disheartening that people tend to play politics instead of valuing human life.

 “As Africans it’s such a great pity that in our country we now lack the decency of ukuba ngabantu. Whether we are in politics or outside politics as people imbued with values and principles of ubuntu to even have a conversation like that when someone is unwell, I find it astonishing. It’s in bad taste, it’s unAfrican,” he said.

Prof Ncube said the MDC Alliance would continue to engage other parties for them to join the grouping.

He said MDC-T deputy president Dr Thokozani Khupe and her allies who are against entering the MDC Alliance should tell the truth regarding their resistance.

“If there was sincerity among those who contest the Alliance they will honestly put the facts of the Alliance agreement on the table. But you will find that there are sort of wild ideas that are communicated to the people in order to incite them to be against the Alliance,” the MDC leader said.