Saturday, March 07, 2009

Zimbabwe News Bulletin: Tsvangirai Injured in Horror Crash; Wife Killed in Collision With USAID Vehicle

Tsvangirai in horror crash

By Sydney Kawadza, Takunda Maodza and Fidelis Muny
Zimbabwe Herald

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his wife Susan were yesterday evening involved in a car crash 86km from Harare on the Masvingo Road when their Toyota Landcruiser was hit by a Nissan truck belonging to an American aid agency, Usaid.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai, hurt in the crash, was last night still in Harare’s Avenues Clinic, and able to sit up, while Mrs Susan Tsvangirai was feared dead although a formal statement is only expected today from the family.

The Prime Minister’s condition was described as "stable".

The couple were on their way to Buhera, the Prime Minister’s rural home, where he was due to speak at a rally today at Murambinda in celebration of his appointment as Prime Minister.

The other two occupants of the Landcruiser — the driver and a bodyguard — were also injured and still hospitalised last night. The injured were taken to hospital by a security vehicle travelling with the PM.

Neither Government, police nor MDC-T party spokesmen last night would comment on Mrs Tsvangirai’s condition although overseas media reports quoted Mr Eddie Cross, one of the Prime Minister’s closest advisers, as saying she had died in the accident.

MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa simply described the accident as "very challenging and quite tragic for the president" (of MDC-T).

President Mugabe, First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe and Vice President Amai Joice Mujuru last night visited Prime Minister Tsvangirai and the other injured at the Avenues Clinic.

The Prime Minister had visible head injuries and a brace around his neck.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai was able to sit up in his bed to talk to President Mugabe.

The Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity said the PM’s vehicle was sideswiped by the Usaid Nissan truck, registration number 81TCE128, near Mhondoro turn-off. The registration number is one of those allocated to the American Embassy technical support staff vehicles.

The driver and other occupants of the truck were last night still at Featherstone Police Station, a few kilometres south of the accident scene.

Featherstone is the nearest police station to the accident scene.

Last night the Landcruiser, under heavy police guard, was still lying by the roadside on its roof with extensive damage to both sides and the back.

Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said the accident occurred at about 6pm.

"There was an oncoming truck from Masvingo which encroached into the lane of the Prime Minister’s vehicle and as the driver tried to take corrective action the vehicles side-swiped and his vehicle rolled three times."

Another police spokesman, Superintendent Andrew Phiri, told our Bulawayo Bureau that the Usaid truck may have struck an object on the road before it veered into Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s vehicle.

MDC-T secretary-general and Finance Minister Tendai Biti last night said more information would be made available today.

"Prime Minister Tsvangirai is in a stable condition and doctors and family members would make a statement in due course," he said.

The accident comes barely a month after Prime Minister Tsvangirai joined the inclusive Government formed following the successful conclusion of talks brokered by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.

Zimbabwe's MDC calls for better security for PM

Sat Mar 7, 2009 6:20am EST
By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's MDC party said the car accident in which the prime minister was hurt and his wife was killed could have been avoided if proper security had been put in place, its secretary general said on Saturday.

MDC Secretary-General and Finance Minister Tendai Biti said police were examining whether foul play was involved in the accident. The party will conduct its own investigation, he said.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai should have been given proper security, Biti told reporters following a party meeting.

"If there had been a police escort, what happened would not have happened; the authorities could have avoided this omission," he said.

Tsvangirai's wife, Susan, was killed when a truck veered into the opposite lane on Friday and slammed into their vehicle. She was thrown out of the car, which overturned and rolled three times, and was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

Tsvangirai suffered some head and neck wounds, but his condition was stable, Biti said.

"Mr. Tsvangirai is stable, but he's in physical pain. The physical pain is dwarfed by the loss of his wife," he said.

The driver of the truck, which belongs to the United States Development Agency is in police custody.

President Robert Mugabe, who visited his old rival in hospital, said on Saturday the accident and the death of Tsvangirai's wife was a tragic blow on a nation that was celebrating a new power-sharing government.

"We were celebrating this major development when the tragedy struck. It is very sad indeed," Mugabe said.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe formed a power-sharing government in February after months of talks to try to end a political and economic crisis that has brought Zimbabwe to ruin.

Several world leaders offered condolences to Tsvangirai, among them South African President Kgalema Motlanthe.

The crash occurred about 50 km (30 miles) south of Harare as Tsvangirai headed to his rural home in Buhera along the potholed Harare-Masvingo highway.

Tsvangirai, who turns 57 on Tuesday, had six children with Susan, 50. She was very popular among MDC supporters who would to chant "mother, mother" when she appeared at rallies.

She avoided the political spotlight but stood by Tsvangirai throughout his struggle as Mugabe's most determined opponent.

1 comment:

David Tech Guy said...

thats horrible i bet he sees USAID differently now. do they even need a attorney out there.