A handful of mourners visited late Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai‘s residence on Friday to console his family members and pay tribute.
Arguably Zimbabwe’s most popular politician, Tsvangirai died on Wednesday evening at the age of 65 after a long battle with cancer.
His death in a South African hospital cast his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) into unknown territory less than six months before elections, the first in Zimbabwe not to feature 93-year-old ousted president Robert Mugabe.
Among the mourners, the Secretary-General of Zimbabwe’s War Veterans Association, Victor Matemadanda, who praised the late opposition stalwart as a pioneer for democracy and expressed his disappointment that Tsvangirai would not live to enjoy the fruits of the democracy he championed.
Matemadanda also lauded the current administration for reaching out to the fallen opposition leader, given that it would be “an offense for a member of ruling ZANU-PF to be seen at a funeral of a person from the MDC in the past regime”.
Tsvangirai will receive a state funeral, but will not be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre, largely reserved for ruling Patriotic Front guerrillas killed during the independence war, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Thursday.
In political terms, the ruling ZANU-PF party and Mnangagwa, who paid a personal visit to Tsvangirai in January, stand to gain from the opposition leader’s death, due to fighting within the MDC over who should succeed its founding father.
The party’s National Council announced that its vice president, Nelson Chamisa, was taking the role of acting president following Tsvangirai’s death.
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