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 Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, left , and all his six children, no names available, during a church service  in Harare,Tuesday, March, ...
 Zimbabwe's prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai wipes tears from his eyes during a church service  in Harare, Tuesday, March, 10, 2009. Tsvangirai was at...
 A portrait of Susan,  the late wife of Zimbabwe's  prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai,  is placed near her coffin during a church service  in Harare, T...
 Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe holds a bible while addressing people during a church service in Harare, Tuesday, March 10, 2009. Mugabe  was atte...
 Vimbai Tsvangirai daughter of  Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai wipes tears from her eyes during a church service in Harare, Tuesday, Marc...

ZIMBABWE MORGAN TSVANGIRAI

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, left , and all his six children, no names available, during a church service in Harare,Tuesday, March, ...

APTOPIX ZIMBABWE MORGAN TSVANGIRAI

Zimbabwe's prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai wipes tears from his eyes during a church service in Harare, Tuesday, March, 10, 2009. Tsvangirai was at...

APTOPIX ZIMBABWE MORGAN TSVANGIRAI

A portrait of Susan, the late wife of Zimbabwe's prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, is placed near her coffin during a church service in Harare, T...

ZIMBABWE TSVANGIRAI

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe holds a bible while addressing people during a church service in Harare, Tuesday, March 10, 2009. Mugabe was atte...

ZIMBABWE TSVANGIRAI

Vimbai Tsvangirai daughter of Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai wipes tears from her eyes during a church service in Harare, Tuesday, Marc...

Thousands mourned the prime minister's wife on Tuesday, some wearing T-shirts declaring her "our rock, our mother," while President Robert Mugabe joined the outpouring of sympathy for a man with whom he agreed only recently to share power.
Pall bearers carried Susan Tsvangirai's bronze coffin into the Harare fair grounds across a red carpet strewn with rose petals. She died in a car crash Friday that injured her husband of more than three decades, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai, who turned 57 on Tuesday, addressed the memorial service only briefly, saying "Let's celebrate her existence as God's gift to me and to you."
Choirs sang hymns to the crowd of about 15,000, some in T-shirts bearing Susan Tsvangirai's photo, others bearing his Movement for Democratic Change party's logo. Mourners carried handwritten signs praising Susan Tsvangirai or saying simply: "We miss you, mother."
Tendai Biti, No. 2 in the Movement for Democratic Change and finance minister in the unity government formed last month, delivered the main eulogy. At one point Biti turned to Tsvangirai and said: "You have no time to cry.
"All these people here are looking for your leadership. We will be there with you when needed," Biti said.
Edwin, at 29 the oldest of the six Tsvangirai children, also urged his father to look ahead to the work of rebuilding a country beset by political and economic crises.
"Our path is to grieve and heal, so we can prepare you for taking the nation forward," said Edwin Tsvangirai, who also thanked Mugabe for condolences offered at a church service earlier.
The words from Mugabe, who did not attend the fair grounds service, "changed my understanding of him," Edwin Tsvangirai said.
After the accident Friday, Mugabe and his wife went to the hospital to see Tsvangirai. On Tuesday, Mugabe addressed about 1,000 government and political leaders and diplomats in the Harare Methodist church as Tsvangirai and his children looked on.
"We are sincerely saddened by the death of Susan and we hope that Morgan will remain strong," Mugabe said, adding that the new coalition government had just begun efforts to bring peace and stability to Zimbabwe.
Mugabe agreed to share power with Tsvangirai under pressure from the leaders of neighboring countries after a year of political violence and deadlock following presidential elections in which Tsvangirai won the most votes. Tsvangirai pulled out of a run-off because of state-sponsored attacks on his supporters, and Mugabe claimed victory despite widespread criticism that the second round was neither free nor fair.
Zimbabwe's long history of political violence blamed on Mugabe's forces fueled speculation that Friday's crash. Tsvangirai tried to quell the rumors Monday, telling mourners there was "no foul play" in the crash.
Questions, though, were raised again at the fair grounds memorial service. Student leader Jonah Bere told the crowd of mourners: "Our hearts will remain bleeding until a fair and independent investigation has been completed.
"The accident remains consistent with the patterns of the past. Zimbabwe's political history is riddled with these accidents. We call for an independent inquiry."
In recent days, thousands of Zimbabweans have paid their respects at the Tsvangirai home in the capital.
The outpouring of sympathy is evidence of support for Tsvangirai, but also a release for emotions that have been building during months of economic collapse and of political unrest that has seen hundreds of political and human rights activists jailed, tortured and killed.
Zimbabwe's unity government faces the world's highest official inflation rate, a hunger crisis that has left most of its people dependent on foreign handouts and a cholera epidemic blamed on the collapse of a once-enviable health and sanitation system.
The United Nations said Monday that the number of cholera deaths had topped 4,000, with more than 89,000 cases.


Updated : 2021-08-04 14:04 GMT+08:00