Friday, March 06, 2009

May Her Soul Rest in Peace

Waking this morning to the news coming out of Zimbabwe that the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had lost his wife in a road accident all but brought back haunting tales of the Mugabe regime in it's attempt to rid the Zimbabwean political front of any form of insubordination and opposition. Some will call this a tragic accident others will know the extent to which the truth surrounding the events, on that road at 4:00pm Friday March 6th 2009, that led to the untimely passing of Susan Tsvangirai. Below is an excerpt from a trusted source, and I quote:

The turmoil in Zimbabwe intensified last night when Morgan Tsvangirai, the new Prime Minister, was injured in a car crash and his wife was killed.

There was no immediate evidence to suggest that the crash was anything but an accident, but Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) henchmen have staged car crashes to eliminate opponents before and Mr Tsvangirai has previously been the target of assassination attempts. “Conspiracy theories will abound,” one Western diplomat said.

Officials of Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change said that his car was hit by the trailer of a large lorry as it swung out in front of it. Mrs Tsvangirai was on the side hit by the trailer and suffered terrible injuries.

A hospital worker was told by Mr Tsvangirai’s chief security aide travelling with him in a Toyota Land Cruiser, that Mrs Tsvangirai was thrown out of the vehicle and fell a long way off. The aide and Mr Tsvangirai were trapped inside, but as soon as the aide managed to extricate himself, Mr Tsvangirai called to him: “Help my wife, help my wife!”

Mr Tsvangirai was in a stable condition in hospital, an MDC spokesman said but even if the Prime Minister has escaped serious injury, the death of the woman to whom he had been married for 31 years, and with whom he has had six children, will be devastating at a time when he is struggling to establish Zimbabwe’s new coalition Government in the face of stiff resistance from Zanu (PF) hardliners.

“I don’t imagine he will be able to give much thought to running the country or the legislative agenda for a while,” the diplomat said.

The accident happened about 30 miles south of Harare as the Tsvangirais were returning to their home district, Buhera, for a rally tomorrow. Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesman, James Maridade, said that the Prime Minister’s car rolled over three times.

“The accident happened between 16.00 hours [14.00 GMT] and 17.00 hours but the details are still sketchy,” one party official said. “The driver of the truck appeared to be sleeping.”

Other reports suggested that Mr Tsvangirai’s Land Cruiser had suffered a burst front left tyre and then rolled.

Mr Tsvangirai was taken to the private Avenues Clinic in Harare, severely bruised and cut, where he was later visited by Mr Mugabe and his wife, Grace. An aide was also injured. “Morgan is talking, and he has been sedated,” said Eddie Cross, a member of the MDC’s national executive. “Last time I spoke [to hospital staff] he didn’t know about Susan’s death. He will be devastated. They were a real team.” The two-lane road leads to Beitbridge, the main border crossing into South Africa, and is notoriously dangerous. It is deeply potholed. It is used heavily by lorries bringing goods into Zimbabwe, many of them seriously overloaded. It was unclear if the Prime Minister had a police escort, but his car and driver and two accompanying security vehicles were provided by the MDC, not the Government, which would also seem to militate against the idea that this was an assassination attempt. Mr Tsvangirai has used the MDC Land Cruiser with a two-vehicle security escort for several years, usually with four officials in each car, and a security guard in the front seat next to the driver in the Land Cruiser, with Mr Tsvangirai usually sitting in the rear seat. Since becoming Prime Minister, he has been issued with a new Sclass Mercedes-Benz, which he uses for official business.

In December last year Elliott Manyika, a party youth wing boss, was killed in a suspicious accident and in November the air force commander Perrence Shiri was shot and injured in circumstances that have never become clear.

Mr Cross said an MDC team that reached the scene before the police was subsequently detained. “When police turned up, they arrested them and confiscated the videos and pictures they had taken,” Mr Cross said. Asked if fould play was suspected, he replied: “That’s the big question. We don’t like that [the arrest of the MDC team] but we have to wait and see. We will demand complete transparency and a thorough investigation.”

Mr Cross also confirmed that earlier this week the new Mercedes-Benz limousine just issued by the government vehicle pool to Lovemore Moyo, the Speaker of the House of Assembly and the MDC chairman, had had a blowout on the way from Harare to Bulawayo. Mr Moyo had travelled by air while his driver took the vehicle. “A brand-new vehicle with brand-new tyres. This is too much,” Mr Cross said. “There is something amiss.”

Mr Tsvangirai has been the target of at least three previous assassination attempts, most spectacularly in 1997 when an eight-man assassination squad burst into his tenth-floor Harare office and tried to force him out of the window. He has also survived numerous death threats, arrests and beatings, one of which left him with a cracked skull, and a two-year treason trial that could have led to the death penalty.

Yesterday’s crash also took place at a critical moment in Zimbabwe’s continuing crisis. Mr Tsvangirai took a huge political risk by entering a unity government with Mr Mugabe last month, but Zimbabwe’s generals and other Zanu (PF) hardliners opposed to sharing power with the MDC have been conspiring to destroy it. They refused to release MDC activists who had been abducted and detained without trial, had Roy Bennett, one of Mr Tsvangirai’s ministers, arrested and organised further farm seizures.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a statement last night expressing deep sadness at Mrs Tsvangirai’s death.

Was this indeed a tragic road accident? Call it a coincidence? Is there perhaps a conspiracy theory at play here? You decide...

We offer our deepest sympathy to His Excellency Morgan Tsvangirai, and their six beautiful children, The Lord strengthen and uphold you during this difficult time and senseless loss of your wife, and mother, Susan Tsvangirai.

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