Zimbabwe’s Tsvangirai in Botswana after wife dies

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan  Tsvangirai was flown to neighbouring Bots-wana on Saturday to  recover from a car crash that injured him and killed his wife, a  source from his MDC party said.

A Reuters witness had earlier seen Tsvangirai, his face  swollen, walking out of a Harare hospital in the company of  security guards and senior officials of his Movement for  Democratic Change.

Zimbabwe’s Tsvangirai in Botswana after wife dies
Zimbabwe’s Tsvangirai in Botswana after wife dies

“I can confirm that he has left for Botswana after the  doctor recommended that Mr Tsvangirai needed to recuperate, and  he could not do that at home given his circumstance,” the MDC  source said.   Another MDC official said Botswanan President Ian Seretse  Khama had sent his private jet to collect Tsvangirai. Khama is  one of the few African leaders to openly criticise Zimbabwean  President Robert Mugabe, with whom Tsvangirai entered a  power-sharing government last month after years of opposition.

Tsvangirai’s MDC party said the car crash, which took place  on Friday on a potholed highway south of the capital Harare,  could have been avoided if proper security had been in place.

MDC Secretary-General and Finance Minister Tendai Biti said  police were examining whether foul play was involved. The party  will conduct its own investigation, he said.

“If there had been a police escort, what happened would not  have happened; the authorities could have avoided this  omission,” he said.
Tsvangirai’s wife, Susan, was killed when a truck veered  into the opposite lane and slammed into their vehicle. She was  thrown out of the car, which overturned and rolled three times,  and was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.
Tsvangirai suffered some head and neck wounds, but his  condition was stable, Biti said.

“Mr Tsvangirai is stable, but he’s in physical pain. The  physical pain is dwarfed by the loss of his wife,” he said.
Tsvangirai is expected back in the country tomorrow. The  driver of the truck, which belongs to the United States  Development Agency, is in police custody.

Mugabe, who visited his old rival in hospital, said yesterday the accident and the death of Tsvangirai’s wife were a  blow to a nation celebrating a new power-sharing government.

“We were celebrating this major development when the tragedy  struck. It is very sad indeed,” Mugabe said.
Tsvangirai and Mugabe formed a unity government in February  after months of talks to try to end a political and economic  crisis that has brought Zimbabwe to ruin, with food shortages, a  cholera epidemic and the world’s worst hyperinflation.
Several world leaders offered condolences to Tsvangirai,  among them South African President Kgalema Motlanthe.
Tsvangirai, who turns 57 on Tuesday, had six children with  Susan, 50. She was very popular among MDC supporters who would chant “mother, mother” when she appeared at rallies.

“She was a people’s hero. She was a mother to us and to our  struggle,” MDC’s Biti said in a statement.
She avoided the political spotlight but stood by Tsvangirai  throughout his struggle as Mugabe’s most determined opponent.