The deputy president of Zimbabwe?s main opposition group, the Movement for Democratic Change, has declared himself interim president of his party. Gibson Sibanda made the declaration after a meeting of his faction, which he says endorsed him for the position. Sibanda was the chairman of the MDC?s disciplinary committee, which suspended party leader Morgan Tsvangirai over disputes pertaining to the recent senatorial elections.

Zimbabwean analyst BhekinKosi Moyo of the Africa Institute of South Africa told English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje that Sibanda?s declaration is likely to ?further polarize and marginalize the MDC.? He says Sibanda and his supporters ?have failed to realize that to be strong and defeat the ruling ZANU-PF, the party needs to remain united.? 

Moyo says the differences among MDC?s leaders ?have been simmering for some time? and that he doesn?t expect them to be resolved at the party?s upcoming congress. ?If anything,? he says, ?we may see a further division of the party during that congress.?