HARARE, March 7 — malaysianinsider — source : Daily Telegraph
The wife of Zimbabwean leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been killed in a car crash in what his party claims may have been an assassination attempt.
Movement for Democratic Change leaders in South Africa said they suspected the head on collision with a lorry which left Prime Minister Tsvangirai injured and his wife Susan dead 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.
It is understood that the couple were travelling to a rally in his hometown of Buhera yesterday afternoon when their car was hit on a road south of the capital Harare by a freight truck travelling in the opposite direction. Local reports said the driver of the truck had fallen asleep at the wheel.
Susan Tsvangirai died at the scene and her husband was taken to hospital with minor injuries, where he was visited by President Robert Mugabe. The couple been married for 31 years and had six children.
A statement issued by the MDC said: "We suspect that this is not a genuine accident and we appeal to Zimbabweans in South Africa to remain calm as facts continue to surface.
"We strongly believe that these are the evil acts of a few individuals bent on derailing the progress of the Inclusive government.
"We are, however, alive to the fact that a lot of Robert Mugabe's opponents died in suspicion road accidents involving army trucks."
Tsvangirai, who has survived three previous attempts on his life, was sworn in as prime minister last month but has a tense relationship with his former rival Mugabe.
A spokesman for Tsvangirai's MDC said there was growing unrest among supporters in Harare.
Mugabe brutally suppressed opposition until being forced into a power-sharing deal following last year's close election, and thugs from his Zanu-PF movement have been accused of carrying out hundreds of political murders.
"It's just going crazy, everyone's phones have been ringing constantly, clearly the suspicion is that this is not as innocent as it might appear," said a businessman who refused to be identified.
"We're hearing the MDC saying it was an accident, fine, if it is then it's tragic but we can accept that. But this is a typical way people are bumped off here. It'll be very difficult to calm people down."
There were also questions about why Tsvangirai's security detail had failed to prevent the crash.
"These guys are supposed to travel in a cavalcade and the prime minister's car is never in the lead, it's police or a dummy car," a Harare lawyer told The Daily Telegraph. "There are obviously too many questions at the moment, and that's where the trouble lies."
Tsvangirai, 56, had long feared that groups loyal to Mugabe would take his life. In 1997 an unidentified gang tried to throw him from a 10th floor office window, and in 2007 he was admitted to hospital after a brutal assault by police at a prayer rally.
Although she preferred to stay out of the limelight and was not herself politically active, Mrs Tsvangirai provided vital support for her husband, bringing him food in prison after his police beatings and nursing him back to health afterwards.
The demur Mrs Tsvangirai was also at her husband's side when he was sworn in last month, cutting a very different figure to Mugabe's extrovert wife Grace who appeared at the ceremony in a lurid leopard skin dress.
The son of a bricklayer, Tsvangirai had no formal education, worked in a nickel mine before becoming involved in politics. Although he supported Mugabe's rise to power and Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980, he became an outspoken critic of the regime's excesses as head of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. He formed the MDC in 1999, leading the party to 57 seats the following year and fighting in opposition for nearly a decade before joining the government this year.