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Morgan Tsvangirai’s body arrives in Zimbabwe

The late Zimbabwean opposition died at a Johannesburg hospital on Wednesday at the age of 65 following a long battle with colon cancer.

A picture taken on 2 September 2017 shows late Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai addressing a crowd during his last opposition rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The body of the late Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has arrived in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai died at a Johannesburg hospital on Wednesday at the age of 65 following a long battle with colon cancer.

His body was repatriated on Saturday night aboard an Air Zimbabwe plane.

The ZIM-SA Forum says Tsvangirai will always be remembered for the sacrifices he made in the interest of the Zimbabwean nation.

The forum’s president Anele Ndlovu said: “We’ve lost somebody who fought hard and so desperately and made so many sacrifices for what he believed.”

Tsvangirai is expected to be buried in a state funeral on Monday.

TRIBUTES

President Emmerson Mnangagwa led tributes to late opposition leader Tsvangirai on Thursday, describing the long-time rival of recently ousted president Robert Mugabe as a dedicated defender of democracy.

His death cast his MDC into unknown territory less than six months before elections, the first in Zimbabwe not to feature 93-year-old Mugabe.

In political terms, the ruling Zanu-PF party and Mnangagwa, who paid a personal visit to Tsvangirai in January, stand to gain from the opposition leader’s death, due to fighting within the MDC over who should succeed its founding father.

The party’s National Council announced that its vice president, Nelson Chamisa, was taking the role of acting president following Tsvangirai’s death.

The MDC described Tsvangirai as a hero who had “left his footprints on the sands of history”, in large part through his tussles, both literal and figurative, with Mugabe.

Additional reporting by Reuters.