Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai Dies Of Colon Cancer In South Africa

Morgan Tsvangirai

Morgan Tsvangirai

The leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition group, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and a former prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai has died, reportsBBC Africa.

Ironically, Tsvangirai's strategy of dealing with opponents within his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) echoed that of his nemesis, Mugabe.

Scores of his supporters were beaten and killed during campaigning for a 2008 election that eventually resulted in four-year unity government with Tsvangirai serving as prime minister to Mugabe's president.

Tsvangirai, who was a thorn in the side of recently ousted leader Robert Mugabe for decades, died on Wednesday after a long battle with cancer.

The oldest of nine children, Tsvangirai left school at 16 to help support his family, reports The Guardian.

In March 2007, police badly beat up Tsvangirai and dozens of opposition activists when they attempted to stage an anti-government rally in a township in Harare.

Mr Morgan Tsvangirai's young brother, Mr Manasa Tsvangirai said the family is still consulting on the funeral arrangements. He first worked as a plant operator at Trojan Nickel Mine in the northern town of Bindura and entered union politics, becoming the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary-general in 1989.

Over the years, he was arrested repeatedly and accused of treason and plotting to assassinate the President, among other charges, but was never convicted.

Hours before Tsvangirai died, the party announced an extraordinary meeting to settle who would be the interim leader.

Shortly after becoming prime minister in 2009, Tsvangirai suffered a serious blow when his wife, Susan, died when the vehicle they were travelling in overturned.

Dell's misgivings proved correct when, in 2013, voters failed to credit Tsvangirai with Zimbabwe's economic turn-around under the coalition government and handed him his biggest electoral defeat.

In November, Mugabe, who had been in power for over 30 years, and his guards were confined to his house by soldiers.

Harare-based political analyst Alexander Rusero described Tsvangirai as "a larger-than-life character" of Zimbabwean opposition politics. He joined Mugabe's Zanu-PF party at the time of Zimbabwe's independence in 1980.

In 1999, Tsvangirai founded the MDC. "So it's just a continuation of the struggle so that his legacy remains", he said.

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