/ 6 March 2009

Zimbabwe PM stable in hospital, wife dead

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who was earlier involved in a car accident that killed his wife, is reported to be fully conscious at The Avenues Clinic in Harare, theMail & Guardian Online has learned from a source in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai is believed to have sustained head and neck injuries, the source said, adding that he is, however, in a stable condition and under special medical care.

The couple was headed to Tsvangirai’s hometown in Buhera district where he was to hold a rally on Saturday, but their car was hit by a freight truck and Susan Tsvangirai died at the scene, party officials said.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson James Maridadi was quoted by AFP as saying that the vehicle in which the prime minister and his wife was travelling rolled over about three times with its four occupants.

He declined to confirm Susan Tsvangirai’s death, but another party official said on condition of anonymity that she died at the scene.

”Mrs Tsvangirai died on the spot … but the details are still sketchy,” the party official said.

”The driver of the truck appeared to be sleeping,” an MDC minister told AFP.

Another source who had visited him at the hospital said Tsvangirai’s head appeared swollen, but doctors had not yet commented on his condition.

A Reuters witness said President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace visited Tsvangirai in hospital after the crash.

The couple did not speak to reporters as they entered the private hospital, reports say.

Tsvangirai was sworn in three weeks ago as prime minister, joining his long-time rival, Mugabe, in a unity government.

The M&G has also learned that the prime minister has been visited by ministers from both the MDC and Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, and at least 10 foreign diplomats.

Hopes for being mother for the nation
Susan Tsvangirai was not active in her husband’s party, but before the 2002 presidential elections — which Tsvangirai controversially lost — she said she hoped to become a mother for the nation.

”I am excited, but slightly daunted,” she told the Sunday Telegraph in 2002. ”There is a lot of work to do. I am looking forward to being not only the mother of my own children but the mother of the nation as well.”

”Despite all the intimidation and the security, there is no need to live in fear, because we are all going to die one day, violently or otherwise. There is nothing any of us can do about that,” she said at the time.

She met her husband in 1977 when Tsvangirai was working for Trojan Nickel Mine, and they discovered that they shared the same hometown of Buhera.

They eventually had six children, and she tended to prefer her privacy over the political spotlight.

”I will have to get used to it,” she said of public life in a 2000 interview with Zimbabwe’s Daily News. ”How will I avoid it? There will be no place to hide.”