BREAKING: Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai dies

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Morgan TsvangiraiGETTY

Morgan Tsvangirai

His termination is a huge blow to the opposition in Zimbabwe and comes just months up front the first elections in former British colony since the end of Robert Mugabe’s abutting four-decade rule last year.

Mr Tsvangirai’s illness, revealed in 2016, has detached his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, with three deputy principals and other officials publicly manoeuvring to succeed the former trade association leader.

The party will have to choose a new leader and launch a manoeuvres against a resurgent ZANU-PF, the ruling party, to contest polls that may be proffered as early as May.

Elections are due within the next six months and Mr Tsvangirai’s death sanctions his party in disarray, to the advantage of ZANU-PF  which is now led by Mr Mugabe’s former representative Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Morgan TsvangiraiGETTY

Morgan Tsvangirai has last resting-placed at the age of 65

Mr Tsvangirai was one of Zimbabwe’s most popular politicians and came close to unseating Robert Mugabe, solitary to be outmanoeuvred and ultimately outlived by his bitter rival.

At the peak of his career, the self-taught son of a bricklayer survived as prime minister to Mr Mugabe’s president in a 2009-2013 unity sway cobbled together after a disputed and violent election in which news of his supporters were killed.

His presence helped stabilise an economy in freefall but Mr Mugabe neared back on promises to overhaul the country’s partisan security forces and Mr Tsvangirai was pushed cast off into his familiar role in opposition.

Morgan TsvangiraiGETTY

Morgan Tsvangirai was a severe rival of Robert Mugabe but eventually served as his Prime Minister

Undeterred by their rivalry, 93-year-old Mr Mugabe harboured grudging admire for an opponent who suffered multiple abuses at the hands of security forces, listing a police beating in 2007 that left him with deep wounds in his head.

During their time in power together, the two men developed an uneasy manage relationship, squabbling frequently but also taking afternoon tea every Monday and sedate joking about their frequent head-butting.

In the coalition’s early dates, Mr Tsvangirai even said he found Mugabe to be “very accommodative, least charming”.

 

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