November 16, 2018

Zimbabwe’s Tsvangirai to be buried on Tuesday, Raila expected to attend

Opposition leader Raila Odinga is expected to attend the funeral of Zimbabwe’s former prime minister and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai passed on last Wednesday in South Africa after a long battle against colon cancer and will be buried on Tuesday in Buhera, 250 kilometres (150 miles) south of Harare.

According to the Zimbabwe Mail, Raila and Namibia’s opposition Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani will address mourners at the party’s headquarters at Harvest House.

On learning of Tsvangirai’s death, Odinga said:

“I have learnt of the passing of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai with deep sorrow. Morgan dared to dream of democracy, freedom and justice for his country and his people despite the firm hands of dictatorship that held sway.

“Until his death, Mr Tsvangirai remained a source of inspiration to a generation of leaders across the continent for his courage in the face of monumental odds. His death leaves a gap in a country that still needs strong forces of change to return to the path of democracy.”

Hundreds thronged Zimbabwe’s main airport Saturday as the body of Tsvangirai arrived home from South Africa for burial.

According to AFP, supporters and officials from his Movement for Democratic Change party, gathered at Robert Mugabe International Airport, broke into Christian hymns and party songs as the plane bearing his remains landed.

“We have received the body of our president, our hero, our icon, our patriot and great leader,” said one of Tsvangirai’s three deputies Nelson Chamisa.

The body was taken to a military camp where the bodies of national heroes lie in state before burial.

In Bulawayo, Tsvangirai’s former deputy Welshman Ncube praised Tsvangirai for forgiving even his persecutors in government who beat him up.

“He had no bitterness at all, no bitterness that over the years they vilified him, arrested him, beat him and laid treason charges against him,” Ncube said. “He was selfless.”

Tsvangirai was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016.

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