Tsvangirai's Wife Killed In Car Crash

04/06/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

UPDATE: The New York Times has further details on the suspicious nature of the car crash that has taken the life of the wife of Zimbabwe's prime minister, especially given the various attempts on Morgan Tsvangirai's life in the past; however, they report that Zimbabwean officials still refuse to make any insinuations of foul play. From the Times:

Mr. Tsvangirai was heading to his rural home for a Saturday rally when the crash occurred Friday afternoon. From his hospital bed in Harare afterward, he told one of his aides that a large truck driving on the other side of the road had come toward his Land Cruiser, the middle vehicle in a three car convoy. "What he told me was that the truck went for his car," said Dennis Murira, director of public affairs in the prime minister's office. "That's how he put it."

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The crash, coming less than a month after Mr. Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister in a tense and long-negotiated power-sharing government with his rival, President Robert Mugabe, stirred deep suspicions in his party, but most officials were careful to say not enough was known about the collision to make any accusations of foul play.

Also in the Times piece are more details on the actual crash. The Tsvangirais' Land Cruiser is said to have been clipped by the trailer of the truck, causing it to roll over three times before finally coming to a stop, upside down.

From earlier:

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his wife, Susan, were involved in an automobile accident Friday, reports Mail & Guardian. The wreck proved fatal for Susan Tsvangirai, and has left the Prime Minister with injuries, the extent of which is still unknown.

According to a local source speaking to Mail & Guardian, "Mrs. Tsvangirai died on the spot. The accident happened between 4pm [local time] and 5pm but the details are still sketchy."

Further details remain vague, with all that is known coming from Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party spokesmen. MDC Spokesman James Maridadi, speaking to the AP, said, "I can confirm that he was involved in a car accident along Harare-Masvingo road. He has been brought to Harare and doctors are looking at him at a hospital,"

Reuters reports that Robert Mugabe visited Tsvangirai in the hospital and that, so far, the MDC has not suggested an foul play in the incident. The crash is said to have occurred on one of the country's most highly-trafficked and dangerous thoroughfares.

According to AFP News, Tsvangirai's motorcade was headed towards his hometown in Buhera when it was hit by a freight truck:

"The prime minister was travelling to Murambinda (in Buhera) at about 1600 hours when his vehicle was involved in an accident with a haulage truck and the vehicle in which the prime minister was travelling rolled over about three times with its four occupants," Tsvangirai's spokesman James Maridadi said.

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"The driver of the truck appeared to be sleeping. (Tsvangirai) was travelling to his rural home in Buhera where he was due to hold a rally Saturday," an MDC minister told AFP.

As the BBC notes, the wreck, though tragic on its own merits, is sure to compound with the fragile political setting in Zimbabwe as well:

Her death comes at a very challenging time for the fledgling power-sharing government, our correspondent says, and will only make matters more complicated.

Mr Tsvangirai still relied on his own security teams and used his own convoys when he travelled, he adds, in a sign that he was not entirely comfortable with the security provided by the new government.

And as Reuters points out, Susan Tsvangirai is survived by six children and was married to the prime minister for 31 years, making the incident all the more tragic.

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