New York, Mar 7 (ANI): Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was hurt and his wife, Susan, has been killed in a car crash about 45 miles south of Harare.
According to officials of Tsvangirai’s political party, the Movement for Democratic Change, the head on collision with a lorry was not a genuine accident. Rumours that the fatal incident was a botched assassination attempt spread quickly in the country, which has a history of political killings.
Tsvangirai was heading to his rural home Buhera for a rally on Saturday when the crash occurred on Friday afternoon. From his hospital bed in Harare he told one of his aides that a large truck driving on the other side of the road had come toward his Land Cruiser, the middle vehicle in a three-car convoy.
“What he told me was that the truck went for his car. That’s how he put it,” The New York Times quoted Dennis Murira, director of public affairs in the prime minister’s office, as saying.
The truck driver told the police that he had fallen asleep at the wheel, Murira added.
The crash, coming less than a month after Tsvangirai was sworn in as Prime Minister in a tense and long-negotiated power-sharing government with his rival, President Robert Mugabe. But most officials were careful to say that not enough was known about the collision to make any accusations of foul play.
Tsvangirai has been the victim of multiple assassination attempts during his years as an opposition leader. Last year, he fled the country, fearing for his life, after he outpolled Mugabe in March presidential elections.
Forces loyal to Mugabe had begun a campaign of violence, trying to intimidate the opposition before a June runoff election for president.
Tsvangirai ended up withdrawing before the runoff because of attacks on thousands of his supporters. When the international community concluded the election was neither free nor fair, protracted negotiations led to a coalition government, with Mugabe as president and Tsvangirai as prime minister.
On Friday night, officials with Tsvangirai’s party expressed concern that the crash had not been an accident, but they resisted reaching any conclusions.
“This will certainly demand an independent investigation,” said Eddie Cross, the policy coordinator for the Movement for Democratic Change. “We won’t accept a police report.”
Ian Makone, a secretary in the prime minister’s office, said he arrived at the crash scene about a half hour after the fact. He said one of the drivers in Tsvangirai’s convoy told him that an oncoming truck “had clipped the right rear fender of Morgan’s car.” (ANI)