Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai Dies Aged 65


His death greatly increases the power of ZANU-PF ahead of elections later this year.

He had a decades-long career in politics, originally joining Mugabe's Zanu-PF party during Zimbabwe's Independence, reports eNCA.

"It is awful, The legacy of Tsvangirai is that he was one of the greatest opposition leaders of the post colonial period, and he defeated one of the major liberation movements of the region, and he was denied that victory", Zimbabwe's veteran analyst and academic, Brian Raftopoulos said.

The eldest in a family of nine, Tsvangirai was born on March 10, 1952, in the Gutu district of Masvingo province, in central Zimbabwe.

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Nine months after its formation, the MDC won 57 seats in parliament, five short of the ruling party's 62, the first time Mr Mugabe's party came close to losing its parliamentary majority.

Tsvangirai, 65, died on February 14, a senior member of his party tweeted.

He went from being a supporter of President Robert Mugabe, o becoming his most high-profile opponent.

Perhaps the most instantly recognizable image of Tsvangirai are the grisly pictures of a beaten Tsvangirai were seen around the world in 2007 when police detained and beat him for organizing a protest in Harare.

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Over the years, he was arrested repeatedly and accused of treason and plotting to assassinate the President, among other charges, but was never convicted.

In 2002 a doctored video surfaced of Morgan Tsvangirai purportedly plotting with a former Israeli intelligence agent to assassinate Mugabe. Tsvangirai ran against Mugabe again in 2013 but lost by a landslide.

Even as he fell ill with cancer, however, Tsvangirai failed to groom a successor, and he left behind a fractured party with no obvious leader to challenge Mnangagwa in the elections expected this year.

He served as Zimbabwe's prime minister with Robert Mugabe as president under a power-sharing arrangement that lasted between 2009 and 2013.

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But just days after being sworn in, Tsvangirai and his wife, Susan, were involved in a horrific vehicle accident.