Latest Newsmembers and peopleNEWSInternationalPolitics

Opposition leader dies; succumbs to his ailment

No matter who you are, one day you die. And it is the acts and deeds that you will be remembered by your loved ones and people.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai died Wednesday at age 65, ending a long campaign to lead his country that brought him jailings, beatings, and accusations of treason.

Tsvangirai died Wednesday evening in a Johannesburg hospital, said Elias Mudzuri, a vice president of the Movement for Democratic Change party. The Opposition leader had been battling colon cancer for two years.

READ ALSO: Robert Mugabe resigns as president of Zimbabwe

Tsvangirai for years was Mugabe’s most potent challenger and even became Prime Minister in an uncomfortable coalition government for a few years. Mugabe resigned in November after pressure from the military and ruling party, and this year’s election will be the first without the man who led the southern African nation for 37 years.

In January, the ailing Tsvangirai suggested that he would be stepping down, saying he was “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.”

Those power struggles are now likely to intensify, which may give an edge to the ruling party, ZANU-PF, and its candidate, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“We are still mourning. This is not the time to talk about that,” MDC party spokesman Obert Gutu said.

READ ALSO: Tough tasks ahead for Zimbabwe’s new President

Tsvangirai came tantalizingly close to the presidency in 2008 when he won the most votes in the election. But the results, delayed nearly a month as Mugabe’s officials “verified” the count, gave him just 47%, shy of the more than 50% majority needed to win outright. Tsvangirai boycotted the runoff, citing widespread violence against his supporters, handing Mugabe the victory.

During his time as prime minister, Tsvangirai was credited with bringing stability and international goodwill. His long struggle as Mugabe’s main challenger was credited with helping to keep a measure of democratic space open in Zimbabwe.

“Thank you for making it possible for people like me to find the courage to say enough is enough,” said pastor Evan Mawarire, who led large anti-government protests in 2016. “Zimbabwe owes you a great debt.”


Post Your Comments

Back to top button