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Zimbabweans and International comm-
unity mourn opposition leader Tsvangirai

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabweans and the international community on Thursday mourned opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who succumbed to colon cancer in a South African hospital Wednesday.

From senior government officials to ordinary people on the streets, Zimbabweans expressed grief over the death of Tsvangirai who has been the face of opposition politics in Zimbabwe since 1999 when he founded his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

“The MDC family mourns with the Tsvangirai family over the unexpected loss of an icon, a unifier, a peacemaker, a fighter, a brave leader and somebody who was principled.

“We are really grieving over this sudden loss. It is not only a loss to the MDC family but a loss to Zimbabwe and the whole of Africa,” said MDC parliamentarian Tapiwa Mashakada.

He said his death was a huge blow to the party but indicated that his demise does not signify the end of the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe.

“In actual fact, we have to strive to make sure that the ideals that he fought for are achieved. So it’s just a continuation of the struggle so that his legacy remains,” he said.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday mourned the death of Tsvangirai, saying he would be accorded a state-assisted burial while lauding him as a fearless fighter for the rights of workers and democracy in his later life as a politician.

Zimbabwe Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said he was saddened by Tsvangirai’s death, who he described as a son of the soil.

“We are saddened by the death of MT, we will sit and see how Zimbabweans can honor that great son of the soil,” Chiwenga said on Twitter.

The U.S. Embassy in Harare expressed its deep condolences over Tsvangirai’s death and said it hoped his spirit and determination would help carry the country forward to a brighter future.

The European Union delegation in Zimbabwe also mourned Tsvangirai, saying it was saddened by his demise. It said Tsvangirai will be remembered as a great trade unionist and a courageous man who stood up for multi-party democracy and justice in Zimbabwe.

Former ZANU-PF politician and government minister Saviour Kasukuwere said Tsvangirai’s legacy will remain etched in the hearts of Zimbabweans.

“It is a great loss. We had hoped that Tsvangirai, even while sick, would continue to be with us and give us strength in our fight for democracy in Zimbabwe,” said Edmore Murove, who was among scores of party supporters gathered at party headquarters in the capital to mourn Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai, a former trade unionist, formed his MDC party in 1999, a party that was to become Zimbabwe’s major opposition party post-independence in 1980.

He died aged 65 in South Africa Wednesday after battling colon cancer since 2016.

Tsvangirai’s death comes at a time when his party is rocked with infighting by the party’s three deputies who are vying to succeed him, and comes a few months before polls scheduled for mid-2018.

Tsvangirai was the presidential candidate for the broader MDC Alliance, a coalition of seven opposition parties seeking to challenge the ruling ZANU party in the polls.



No national hero status for opposition leader
Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa says

HARARE, (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Thursday the late former Prime Minister and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai will be accorded a state-assisted funeral, but not national hero status as his party has been pushing for, state news agency New Ziana reported.

Mnangagwa told the media on the sidelines of the official opening of the Zimbabwe Republic Police Central Investigations Department (CID) headquarters in the capital Harare that the government would ensure that the late trade unionist and opposition leader would get a befitting send-off.

“Last night we instructed our embassy in Pretoria to assist in any manner possible for catering of the body, to make sure it is kept in the correct place. We will give every assistance possible. I have discussed with my colleagues, what honor, we are going to give him,” he said.

Asked whether Tsvangirai would be bestowed the national hero status to enable him to be interred at the national shrine, Mnangagwa said: “No, No. We will give him a state-assisted funeral.”

The president said Zimbabwe had lost a great contributor to the fight for democracy.

“Obviously, as a nation, we feel we have lost a man who has his contribution to the political landscape of this country. Yes he was in the opposition, but he was striving to make sure there is democracy in the country, from his perspective, and he has been in the political arena for a very long time,” he said.

“So our politics have been shaped by his contribution in this country,” Mnangagwa said.

Tsvangirai, 65, succumbed to colon cancer on Wednesday in neighboring South Africa after a two-year battle with the disease.

Affectionately referred to by his followers as Save, his totem, Tsvangirai was leader of the biggest opposition party in Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change, since its formation in 1999.

Tsvangirai battled it out with former President Robert Mugabe in three election cycles without success.

He failed to dislodge the veteran leader and his ZANU-PF party but came close in 2008, after winning the first round of the presidential vote, but withdrew from the second round, citing violence against his supporters.

The dispute resulted in the Southern African Development Community intervening and negotiating a settlement which led to formation of a coalition government in which Tsvangirai was made prime minister.


Zimbabwe opposition leader Tsvangirai dies aged 65

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --  Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been battling colon cancer, died at a South African hospital Wednesday.

A message posted by one of his deputies in the MDC-T party Elias Mudzuri confirmed his death.

Tsvangirai announced in 2016 that he had been diagnosed with colon cancer and had been in and out of hospital for some time.

“It is sad for me to announce that we have lost our icon and fighter for democracy,” Mudzuri said.

A former trade unionist, Tsvangirai had been the face of Zimbabwean opposition politics since 2009.

He became prime minister in an inclusive government led by former President Robert Mugabe in 2009 following disputed elections the previous year.

He had been chosen by the broader MDC Alliance to be the coalition’s presidential candidate in elections slated for 2018.


Zimbabwe in diamond talks with Botswana: state media

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe is holding talks with the Botswana government to explore the possibility of it sending its gems to the neighboring country for cutting and polishing, state broadcaster ZBC reported  on Tuesday.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa revealed this while touring the Diamond Trading Company of Botswana at the conclusion of his two-day state visit to Botswana on Tuesday, ZBC reported.

During the tour, the president said if the talks between the government of Zimbabwe and Botswana government are successful, Zimbabwe will send its diamonds to Botswana for cutting and polishing, the ZBC said.

Zimbabwe has been exporting its gems in raw form due to lack of beneficiation capacity.

The country is planning to resume diamond auctions this month, having suspended sales in February 2017 after the government in 2016 merged operations of seven companies that were mining gems in Marange in the eastern part of Zimbabwe.

The government of former president Robert Mugabe accused the companies of lack of transparency and accountability, and of prejudicing the state of about 15 billion U.S. dollars in potential diamond revenue.

Some of the companies took the government to court over their forced eviction from the diamonds fields.

Zimbabwe started commercial diamond production in Marange in 2010. Over the years, diamond production at the fields has declined sharply from 12 million carats in 2012 to 1.8 million carats in 2017, according to industry figures.

Miners have blamed dwindling alluvial diamond deposits and lack of technology at mine conglomerates for the low production.


Zimbabwe president mnangagwa appoints new police chief

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed a new police chief following the retirement of former Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri last December.

In a statement published by The Herald on Tuesday, Public Service Commission chairperson Mariyawanda Nzuwah said the appointment of Tandabantu Godwin Matanga as the new commissioner-general of the Zimbabwe Republic Police was with immediate effect.

Prior to the latest appointment, the 56-year-old Matanga was one of four deputy commissioner-generals in the police.

A veteran of the country’s war for independence, Matanga joined the police in 1982 as a patrol officer and rose through the ranks to become deputy commissioner-general.

He became acting commissioner-general following Chihuri’s retirement.

Matanga takes over at a time when the police is trying to polish its image following allegations of corruption within its rank and file.



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