16/11/2018
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Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai confirmed dead at age 65

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has died aged 65, party leaders have confirmed.

Mr Tsvangirai, 65, a former prime minister, had reportedly been suffering from colon cancer.

“He died this evening. The family communicated this to me,” MDC vice president Elias Mudzuri told Reuters.

Mr Tsvangirai’s career was marked by a long political struggle against former President Robert Mugabe.

He had been beaten and imprisoned numerous times.

Mr Tsvangirai founded the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) in 2000, repeatedly challenging Mr Mugabe during the ex-president’s long grip on power.

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

Before the second round of voting, Mr Mugabe’s security forces carried out a campaign of violence against opposition supporters, and Mr Tsvangirai withdrew.

Mr Mugabe was declared the winner, but an international outcry over allegations of violence and vote-rigging led to a power sharing agreement in which Mr Tsvangirai would serve as prime minister.

Mr Tsvangirai ran against Mr Mugabe again in 2013 but lost by a landslide.

The MDC is said to be divided over who should lead it into elections later this year against the governing Zanu-PF party, led by Mr Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mr Tsvangirai’s illness was said to have divided the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change), with some party officials reportedly jockeying to succeed the former trade union activist.

He had been in and out of hospital since June, receiving treatment in a Johannesburg hospital for cancer. He returned to the hospital early last month.

Reports early in February indicated that Mr Tsvangirai’s health had deteriorated rapidly.

He had lost appetite and had difficulty eating or swallowing fluids, sources said. Mr Tsvangirai also reportedly had breathing problems.

Meanwhile, an MDC party source was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying that Mr Tsvangirai “is critically ill and we should brace for the worst”.

Source: BBC

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