March 6, 2009 — The wife of newly elected Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was killed today in a car accident in Harare, the Daily Mail is reporting. Her husband was injured and taken to a nearby hospital.
Susan Tsvangirai, whose husband is a long-time opponent of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, died when a truck hit their vehicle while the couple was en route to political rally. The couple had been married for 31 years and had six children.
“Her faith was very evident,” said charismatic minister Robert Ricciardelli, founder of Visionary Advancement Strategies in Charlotte, N.C., who met Susan Tsvangirai in December in South Africa. “She had faith that a new government was going to be put in, and she believed it was going to be from the hand of God.”
The truck driver is believed to have fallen asleep at the wheel, but some observers suspect foul play.
A source from Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the Mugabe-appointed security detail, which was driving in front and behind the prime minister’s vehicle, allowed the truck to drive head-on toward the Tsvangirais. The prime minister’s driver veered left, but the truck slammed into them, throwing Susan Tsvangirai from the vehicle, the source said.
The crash comes just weeks after Tsvangirai, 57, was installed as prime minister in a power-sharing deal with Mugabe, who has led the nation since its independence from Britain in 1980.
The deal was meant to end almost a year of deadly stalemate with Mugabe, as the country suffered economic turmoil, resulting in an unemployment rate above 90 percent, and a devastating cholera outbreak that has led to more than 3,800 deaths since August.
On Wednesday, Tsvangirai delivered his first prime ministerial speech to parliament.
In the past, Tsvangirai had been charged with treason for opposing Mugabe and had been arrested three times since becoming leader of the MDC. Tsvangirai is said still to rely on his own security personnel, but the Daily Mail reports that the roads in Zimbabwe are notoriously dangerous.