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08.03.2009 Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe MDC party calls for escort for PM Tsvangirai


Zimbabwe's MDC party has called on the state to provide its leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai with police escort for security when travelling by road, New Ziana reported on Saturday.

Party Secretary General Tendai Biti, who is also Finance Minister, told a news conference on Saturday that a horrific accident in which Tsvangirai's wife Susan was killed and he sustained serious injuries could have been avoided if he had been travelling under police escort.

"The accident could have been avoided if he had a police escort as it would have warned other vehicles that there was a VIP coming and they would have stopped," he said.

"We hope that this will be rectified and the Prime Minister is accorded an escort," he added. Biti noted that Tsvangirai was being driven by a CMED-certified driver, adding police were investigating the cause of the accident.

He said in addition to investigations the police were carrying out, the party was also conducting its own and would announce the results soon.

Biti declined to comment on reports that Tsvangirai"s vehicle collided with a truck belonging to USAID, saying doing so would pre-empt investigations.

Tsvangirai was involved in an accident near the 86 km peg along the Masvingo highway while on his way to his rural home in Buhera where he was scheduled to address a rally on Saturday to celebrate his appointment as Prime Minister.

Biti expressed deep condolence on the death of Mrs Tsvangirai, who he described as a mother to the party. "The void she creates is not replaceable," he said.

He also expressed sympathy to the children that Mrs Tsvangirai has left behind, saying it was not easy to lose such an important person in life.

Biti said the party deeply sympathized with Tsvangirai, who had lost his wife of more than 31 years.

He noted that the late Susan had supported her husband since they first met in 1976 right through the difficulties that he went through in his political career.

"To the Tsvangirai family we say that God works in the way that he wants," said Biti. "We are with you and the people of Zimbabwe are with you," he added.

Speaking at the same occasion, spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the party would work with the family in arranging burial for the late Mrs Tsvangirai, which he said was likely to take place in Buhera.

Chamisa said the party was still awaiting arrival of family members as well as some of the children who were scattered all over the world. "Meanwhile, we want to ensure that we give her a heroine's send off in Harare," he said.