Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai dies at the age of 65

16 February, 2018, 07:03 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • Zimbabwe Workers Day Celebrations

He had been beaten and imprisoned numerous times after he founded the MDC in 2000 and tried to challenge Mugabe's iron grip on the country.

He had a decades-long career in politics, originally joining Mugabe's Zanu-PF party during Zimbabwe's Independence, reports eNCA. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, the party and the nation at this hour", he said.

The Kenyan opposition chief further said his family, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party and National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition will join the people of Zimbabwe in mourning the fallen politician.

The former prime minister was one of former President Robert Mugabe's worst critics. ZANU-PF dismissed Mugabe from his post as party leader and called on him to resign from the presidency.

Mediation by the Southern African Development Community, a regional trading bloc, resulted in a coalition government in February 2009, that left Mugabe as president and with Tsvangirai as prime minister.

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In the 2008 election, Tsvangirai gained the most votes in the first round but not enough to win outright.

The MDC described Tsvangirai as a hero who had "left his footprints on the sands of history", in large part through his tussles - both literal and figurative - with Mugabe.

He had appointed Nelson Chamisa, 40, as acting president 'until the president's return, ' Tsvangirai's spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said in a statement last week.

Mugabe was returned unopposed, but the parlous state of Zimbabwe's economy, . "We will sit and see how Zimbabweans can honour that great son of the soil", Chiwenga said. "Morgan Tsvangirai contributed immensely to changing the profile of the political landscape in Zimbabwe. It is therefore sad that he is gone", Mukoko said.

His death will be a blow to his party, as they will be looking to install a new leader before the elections.

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