Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Zimbabwe’s PM treated in Botswana after crash

Zimbabwe’s prime minister has left the country for medical treatment after he was injured in a car crash that killed his wife, state media has reported.

A party official said Morgan Tsvangirai was in Botswana.

State radio and the government-run Sunday Mail said Mr Tsvangirai left on Saturday soon after being |released from the Harare hospital where he had been treated after his car collided Friday with a truck carrying US aid.

The Mail quoted MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa as saying Mr Tsvangirai left after consultations with his family, party and government “for further medical examination and attention just to make sure that we have exercised due diligence. We are not leaving any medical stone unturned”.

Officials of his party refused to say publicly where he had gone, but an |official of Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change said it was neighbouring Botswana, where Mr Tsvangirai spent months last year, fearing for his life in his homeland.

Botswana President Seretse Ian Khama has been one of the few African leaders to openly criticise Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980 and is accused of destroying its economy and trampling on democratic and human rights.

After a dispute over presidential elections nearly a year ago and months of state-sponsored violence against MDC members and independent political activists, Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Mugabe formed a coalition government last month.

But the union has been rocky from the start. The long history of political violence blamed on Mr Mugabe’s forces — including several assassination attempts on Mr Tsvangirai — is now fuelling speculation Friday’s car crash was not an accident.

Mr Tsvangirai’s party called for an investigation into the crash, and said it could have been avoided had Mr Tsvangirai had the kind of motorcade that travels with Mr Mugabe.

Mr Tsvangirai was headed to a weekend rally in his home region when the accident occurred. State television said the truck swerved on an uneven and notoriously dangerous road on the outskirts of the capital, Harare. Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesman said the car carrying the prime minister, his wife, a driver and a bodyguard sideswiped the truck and rolled at least three times.

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