Tsvangirai to return home for wife's burial on Wednesday

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Harare - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is expected back in Zimbabwe today ahead of his wife's burial in his home town Buhera on Wednesday.

Mr Tsvangirai sustained head and neck injuries in last Friday's car crash in which his wife was killed. He is currently in Botswana for further medical examination.

Nelson Chamisa, the spokesman of Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said Sunday that Susan Tsvangirai's body would lie in state at the family's Strathaven home in Harare Monday.

A service would be held at the Glamis Arena showgrounds, where friends, relatives, MDC leaders, supporters and government officials were expected to pay their last respects.

"She was a humble mother and our rock and we need to give her a special send-off befitting her contributions," Mr Chamisa said, adding that the mourners would then take the body to Humanikwa village in Buhera on Tuesday.

"Ms Tsvangirai, our mother, will be buried on Wednesday morning in Humanikwa village near Makanda Primary School. The President of the MDC and the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe will return once medical attention and procedures have been completed," Mr Chamisa said.

South African President and Chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Kgalema Motlanthe, sent a condolence message to Mr Tsvangirai on behalf of his country and the regional bloc.

"The thoughts and prayers of the people of South Africa and SADC region are with you while wishing you a speedy recovery to enable you to resume your national responsibilities as Prime Minister," President Motlanthe said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who leads a splinter MDC faction, has urged the government to improve security for political leaders as well as enable them to safely travel around the country to discharge their duties.

Mr Mutambara, who is one of two deputies to Mr Tsvangirai, was addressing a press conference at the end of his party's national council meeting at which he expressed the party's condolences on the death of Susan Tsvangirai.

He said the Prime Minister must be provided with a police escort to ensure his safety when travelling around the country.

"In spite of the circumstances surrounding the accident, investigations will be carried out and we do not want to prejudge the outcome but only to say a lot can be done to improve the security around our leaders in this country," he said.

He said the death of the Prime Minister's wife would impact progress on the inclusive government. "It's very sad that this has happened while we are busy setting up an inclusive government, while people are busy running around to drive the Zimbabwean political agenda as the three political parties in an inclusive government."

Zimbabwe's four-week old inclusive government is working towards restoring socio-economic progress.

While wishing the Prime Minister a speedy recovery, Mr Mutambara said the death of Susan Tsvangirai must unite Zimbabweans. "Her blood must be used to unite all Zimbabweans. Her blood must irrigate this nation towards a common purpose. Lets us not allow her to die in vain," he said.

The Prime Minister has since cleared all suspicions that the accident he was involved in was planned.