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zimbabwe opposition leader

Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has died in South Africa, his MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) party has announced.

Morgan Tsvangirai, 65, a former prime minister, had reportedly been suffering from colon cancer.

MDC vice president Elias Mudzuri told Reuters: “He died this evening. The family communicated this to me.”

Morgan Tsvangirai’s career was marked by a long political struggle against former President Robert Mugabe.

The opposition leader had been beaten and imprisoned numerous times.

Announcing Morgan Tsvangirai’s death, Elias Mudzuri tweeted that the MDC had “lost our icon and fighter for democracy”.

Image source Wikimedia

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Morgan Tsvangirai founded the MDC in 2000, repeatedly challenging Robert Mugabe during the ex-president’s long grip on power.

In the 2008 election, Morgan Tsvangirai gained the most votes in the first round but not enough to win outright.

Before the second round of voting, Robert Mugabe’s security forces carried out a campaign of violence against opposition supporters, and Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew.

Robert Mugabe was declared the winner, but an international outcry over allegations of violence and vote-rigging led to a power sharing agreement in which Morgan Tsvangirai would serve as prime minister.

Morgan Tsvangirai ran against Robert Mugabe again in 2013 but lost by a landslide.

The MDC is said to be divided over who should lead it into elections later this year against the governing Zanu-PF party, led by Robert Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa.