14. February 2018

Morgan Tsvangirai passes away

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has passed away in a South African hospital, after a long struggle with cancer. He was 65.

Elias Mudzuri, vice-president of the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T), announced Tsvangirai’s death on Twitter: “As you are aware that our MDC-T President, Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai has not been feeling well for some time, it is sad for me to announce that we have lost our icon and fighter for democracy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, the party and the nation at this hour.”

Tsvangirai was a veteran opposition leader, for nearly two decades the most credible threat to the long rule of former President Robert Mugabe. He first ran for president in 2002, before shocking the political establishment by winning the first round of the controversial 2008 election. The violence that followed this vote led to the creation of a government of national unity, in which Tsvangirai served as Prime Minister.

He remained actively involved in politics until his death, and was chosen to serve as president of the MDC Alliance, new opposition coalition. It is unclear who will succeed him as president of the MDC-T and the MDC Alliance.

Tsvangirai had reportedly been in critical condition since early last week, although on 6 February he had sought to reassure supporters that he was on the mend. “I am shocked to read in the press that I am in a critical condition. Of course I have cancer and not feeling too well but I am stable and the process is under control. I have been frequently on Twitter of late, I am recovering,” he said. (Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg)

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