Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai passes away

USA-ELECTION  TRUMP-RIGGING-AFRICA

His Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party confirmed his death Wednesday evening. "The family communicated this to me", MDC vice-president Elias Mudzuri told Reuters.

As the founding leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the country's leading opposition party, Tsvangirai oversaw what at times seemed to be a suicidal effort to oust Mugabe, an autocrat who ruled the country for 37 years.

He also tried to make peace with the longtime leader, joining a government of national unity and serving as prime minister from 2009 to 2013.

After running in a tightly contested election against Mugabe in 2008, Tsvangirai pulled out of the second round voting, stating a free and fair vote was impossible as his supporters faced violence and imprisonment at the hands of Mugabe's security forces.

The party's National Council announced that its vice president, Nelson Chamisa, was taking the role of acting president following Tsvangirai's death.

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Tsvangirai (L) and Mugabe (R) pictured in 2013.

He was elected and sworn in as President of the Republic of South Africa on Thursday.

Mr Tsvangirai then continued for years as the country's opposition leader, facing significant repression from Mr Mugabe and ZANU-PF.

"We are saddened by the death of MT, we will sit and see how Zimbabweans can honor that great son of the soil", Chiwenga said on Twitter.

Tsvangirai's career was marked by a long political struggle against former President Robert Mugabe and had been beaten and imprisoned numerous times.

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Morgan Tsvangirai was born on 10 March 1952 in Gutu, in the Masvingo Province in the South of Zimbabwe.

The intention behind the alliance with Mujuru was to challenge Mugabe in elections in 2018, but that strategy was eclipsed by the military-backed intervention last November that brought Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former ally of Mugabe's, to power.

He joined ZANU-PF in 1980 after Zimbabwe's independence and rose quickly through the ranks.

Still bearing the scars of his treatment by police - an outrage that bolstered his popularity - Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in a first round vote but was forced to pull out of a run-off due to a campaign of violence against his supporters.

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