Zimbabwe opposition leader dead

February 15, 2018

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai (file) has died after a prolonged battle with cancer.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has died after a prolonged battle with colon cancer, reported his Movement for Democratic Change party. He was 65.

"It is unfortunate that we have lost our leader. That is all I can say," said MDC spokesman Obert Gutu.

Tsvangirai was in South Africa recieving medical treatment at the time of his death.

Although Tsvangirai had been sick since 2016, he had only last week taken to Twitter to play down rumours that his illness was terminal.

"I have cancer and (am) not feeling too well, but I am stable and the process is under control. ... I am recovering," he wrote on February 6.

Tsvangirai founded the MDC in 1999, challenging former ruler Robert Mugabe several times.

He did so, despite being attacked several times during election campaigns, once so badly in police custody in 2007 that he suffered a cracked skull, internal bleeding and a face so swollen he couldn't see.

Under his leadership, the MDC is widely believed to have won the 2008 elections, but Mugabe forced a run-off vote.

With growing threats of violence against him and his supporters, Tsvangirai called off the second round of voting.

That led to a fractious coalition government with Tsvangirai as prime minister and Mugabe as president. The marriage did not go well, with Mugabe sidelining Tsvangirai from many important decisions and largely keeping the country's money to himself.

The MDC was not included in the country's latest government after Mugabe's resignation last year.

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