Zimbabwe offers to pay for Tsvangirai funeral expenses

Opposition leader of the movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T) Morgan Tsvangirai gestures during a press conference on February 5 2016 in Harare. Last month the WFP said 14 million people across southern Africa faced going hungry due to the prolonged drought, with the cost of maize -- the regional staple -- in Malawi 73 percent higher than average. "People have no money in their pockets -- a situation exacerbated by food shortages," Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) told a news conference in Harare. / AFP / JEKESAI NJIKIZANA (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Zimbabwe is ready to help foot the bill for the funeral arrangements of Morgan Tsvangirai in a tribute to the opposition leader who died after a long battle with cancer, a government spokesman said on Thursday.

Tsvangirai’s death on Wednesday in a South African hospital cast his Movement for Democratic Change party into unknown territory less than three months after the army ousted Zimbabwe’s veteran ruler Robert Mugabe.

Arguably Zimbabwe’s most popular politician, Tsvangirai’s career was ultimately defined by his tussles with 93-year-old Mugabe, who resigned after a de facto coup in December.

“The Zimbabwean Embassy in Pretoria has been instructed to help in any way appropriate in the circumstances, including assuming the costs that are attendant to the proper handling of the body of the late (Tsvangirai),” said George Charamba, who is also the presidential spokesman.

Zimbabwe’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has made no public statement yet on the former trade union leader’s death, but postponed a trip to Bulawayo in the south of Zimbabwe due to other “pressing commitments”, the state-owned Herald newspaper said.

Elections are due within the next six months in Zimbabwe and Tsvangirai’s illness and now death leaves his party in disarray, to the advantage of the ruling ZANU-PF party, now led by Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s former deputy. (Reuters/NAN)


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