Zimbabweans mourn Morgan Tsvangirai

Zimbabweans mourn Morgan Tsvangirai

For all that, Tsvangirai appeared in recent months to be attempting a comeback, even as he made frequent trips overseas for colon cancer treatment.

Tsvangirai was a true democrat to the end and an inspiration and role model to Zimbabweans in South Africa and the world over.

From being a staunch supporter of Mugabe, the deceased became a strong opponent.

Morgan Richard Tsvangirai was born on March 10, 1952, in the southern district of Gutu, the son of a bricklayer father and a mother who was a subsistence farmer.

After graduation from secondary school he worked at the Bindura Nickel Mine for 10 years, eventually becoming plant supervisor. ZANU-PF dismissed Mugabe from his post as party leader and called on him to resign from the presidency.

He rose quickly through party ranks, making a name for himself as a trade union organiser.

Zimbabwe was plunged into grief Thursday following the death of veteran opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, roundly praised as a hero, champion of democracy and symbol of resistance who will be hard to replace. With union backing, he established the Movement for Democratic Change in September 1999.

The agreement, which helped stabilized the economy, remained in place until 2013 when fresh elections were held and Mugabe regained outright control. The case was later thrown out of court.

Mnangagwa has abolished 51% black ownership requirements for miners other than diamond and platinum, and has said he would step down if he lost the election to be held later this year.

Nine months after its formation, the MDC won 57 seats in parliament, five short of the ruling party's 62, the first time Mr Mugabe's party came close to losing its parliamentary majority. But Tsvangirai refused to take part in further rounds, citing widespread intimidation. He lost in a deeply flawed election process that would go on to characterize Zimbabwean democracy until Mugabe was forced out in November. Tsvangirai's death will certainly weaken an already struggling opposition movement in Zimbabwe.