Toggaherer’s Weblog

THE WIFE OF ZIMBABWE S PRIME MINISTER MORGAN HAS BEEN KILLED IN A CAR CRASH.

Posted on: March 7, 2009

THE WIFE OF ZIMBABWE S PRIME MINISTER MORGAN HAS BEEN KILLED IN A CAR CRASH.

THE WIFE OF ZIMBABWE S PRIME MINISTER MORGAN HAS BEEN KILLED IN A CAR CRASH.

The wife of Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been killed in a car crash in which he was also slightly hurt, party officials say.

Susan Tsvangirai was travelling with her husband south of the capital, Harare, when the crash happened.

Mr Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, formed a unity government with President Robert Mugabe last month.

Mr Mugabe has reportedly visited his former long-term rival in hospital.

Zimbabwean journalist Brian Hungwe told the BBC that both the president and his wife Grace had gone to the clinic in Harare where Mr Tsvangirai is being treated.

Hungwe said he had been told that Mr Tsvangirai, who will turn 57 next week, was in a stable condition but in a state of shock.

The prime minister is said to have been on his way to his rural home in Buhera, where he planned to hold a weekend rally, when his vehicle was involved in a crash near Beatrice.

A spokesman for Mr Tsvangirai, James Maridadi, told the AFP news agency: “The prime minister was travelling to Murambinda [in Buhera district] at about 1600 hours when his vehicle was involved in an accident with a haulage truck.

“The vehicle in which the prime minister was travelling rolled over about three times with its four occupants.”

The AFP quoted an MDC minister as saying the driver of the lorry had been asleep at the wheel.

‘Source of strength’

The crash comes just two days after Mr Tsvangirai delivered his maiden speech to parliament after being sworn in as prime minister in Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government.

He and his wife Susan, who married in 1978, had six children.

The BBC’s Andrew Harding in Johannesburg says that Mrs Tsvangirai was very discreet and stayed out of the limelight, but was a very important part of her husband’s life.

She was a great source of strength to her husband when in the past he was charged with treason and assaulted for his opposition to Mr Mugabe, and sat through all his treason trial, our correspondent says.

She also made a point of visiting MDC members who were jailed while the party was in opposition, he adds.

Her death comes at a very challenging time for the fledgling power-sharing government, our correspondent says, and will only make matters more complicated.

Mr Tsvangirai still relied on his own security teams and used his own convoys when he travelled, he adds, in a sign that he was not entirely comfortable with the security provided by the new government.

Tense relations

Relations between the MDC and Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party remain tense, with MDC ministerial nominee Roy Bennett still in custody, accused of links to an alleged plot to kill Mr Mugabe.

The MDC says the arrest – which happened on the day MDC ministers joined the power-sharing government – is a political manoeuvre by hard-line supporters of Mr Mugabe to destabilise the unity administration.

State television made no mention of the crash in its two evening news bulletins, the Associated Press news agency reports.

There are no dual carriageways on Harare’s inter-city roads, making overtaking dangerous, the BBC News website’s Africa editor Joseph Winter adds.

Traffic accidents are common, often because of speeding and drink-driving, he says.

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