Zimbabwe Prime Minister's Wife Killed in Car Crash

By Nontando Hadebe 03-09-2009

A dark cloud has descended on Zimbabwe. On Friday, March 6th, Susan, the wife of Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tswangirayi, was killed in a car accident. It was a tragic and unexpected event that shocked the nation.

Tswangirayi survived the accident and is currently receiving treatment in neighboring Botswana. He is due back into the country to attend his wife's funeral. What a terrible blow to a man who has at great cost to his life led a struggle for a democratic Zimbabwe. His wife stood by him throughout his political career. They have six children. Her death is a tragic loss to the family and nation.

Ironically, two days prior to the accident, Tswangirayi delivered his first speech as Prime Minister -- a small step forward to what is turning out to be a long and dangerous road to democracy. However, Susan's death through a car accident has brought back many skeletons in the political closet. Several prominent politicians have died as a result of car 'accidents.' Weekend newspapers in South Africa had articles that listed the names of prominent politicians in Zimbabwe who died as a result of car 'accidents.'

These facts are common knowledge in Zimbabwe, and the death of Susan has fuelled conspiracy theories and deepened distrust and fear. Given this history and volatile political climate, the opposition party has made plans to carry out their own investigations. Despite assurances from the employer of the driver responsible for the accident that it was a 'real accident,' it is doubtful whether this will have any effect in reducing the climate of fear and suspicion that has gripped the nation.

It's hard to predict the events of the next few days, but one thing is certain -- a turning point has been reached and it will depend on which way it is turning. We ask for prayers for Tswangirayi, his children, extended family, and the nation. May Susan's soul rest in peace.

Nontando HadebeNontando Hadebe, a former Sojourners intern, is originally from Zimbabwe and is now pursuing graduate studies in theology in South Africa.

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