Tsvangirai's wife to be buried on Wednesday

Monday, March 9, 2009

Harare - Susan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's wife, is to be buried in her rural hometown of Buhera on Wednesday.

A senior official from Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said a procession would be held in Harare on Tuesday in her honour. He confirmed her body would be buried on Wednesday.

The two were involved in a car accident on Friday. Ms Tsvangirai was killed while he sustained minor injuries.

President and current Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Kgalema Motlanthe has sent condolences to Mr Tsvangirai.

"As you mourn the death of your beloved wife Susan, please be assured of the unwavering and moral support of the government and people of South Africa as well as SADC during this hour of need and bereavement," said President Motlanthe.

Former President Thabo Mbeki, who was a major roleplayer in the Zimbabwean talks to establish a government of unity, has also sent condolences to the Tsvangirai family.

Mr Tsvangirai and his wife were travelling from Harare to Buhera where he was due to attend a rally on Saturday. His car was hit by a truck which crossed into the oncoming lane and side-swiped his vehicle, causing it to roll several times, police said.

Britain has confirmed that the truck was owned by a joint Unites States-British aid project that delivers HIV and AIDS drugs.

Ms Tsvangirai died at the scene of the accident.

She was reportedly flung out of the car as it rolled over and landed on top of her. Rescuers found her 15 metres from the wrecked vehicle, fatally wounded with serious internal injuries and fractures to both legs.

She was rushed to Beatrice Hospital where she was confirmed dead on arrival. The Prime Minister left for neighbouring Botswana for medical treatment on Saturday after he was released from the Avenues Clinic in Harare.

The MDC party has said it will carry out its own investigation into the collision. Authorities have not suggested foul play, however, Finance Minister Tendai Biti, indicated that a police escort might have prevented the accident.

The accident has raised new concerns about the fragile unity government whose inception has been plagued by disputes over the appointments of top officials.

The new government faces an array of problems, including food and fuel shortages, the world's most serious hyperinflation and a cholera outbreak in which nearly 88 000 people have been infected, with nearly 4 000 killed.

Mr Tsvangirai, who turns 57 tomorrow, had six children with his wife Susan, who was popular among MDC supporters, and would chant "mother, mother" when she appeared at rallies with her husband.

Ms Tsvangirai avoided the spotlight but stood by her husband throughout his ordeals as Mugabe's most determined opponents.