Morgan Tsvangirai: Timeline of the brave icon of Zimbabwe’s opposition

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Zimbabwe has received the news that Morgan Tsvangirai, the icon of the opposition’s fight against the Zanu-PF government, has died.

Tsvangirai Tsvangirai In Hospital

Tsvangirai Tsvangirai In Hospital

Here are the key milestones in Morgan Tsvangirai’s life:

10 March 1952 Morgan Tsvangirai is born in Gutu in the then Southern Rhodesia. He the eldest of 9 children of a carpenter, Chibwe Tsvangirai and house-wife Lydia Tsvangirai.
1968-1969 A 16-year-old Tsvangirai leaves school and becomes a textile weaver.
1980 at Independence Tsvangirai joins Zanu-PF and rises in its ranks
Late 1980s Tsvangirai becomes the Secretary-General of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, a powerful trade union which was to give him a platform to engage in politics in the next decade.
1989 Tsvangirai is arrested and detained by the Zimbabwe Republic Police on allegations of spying for the South African apartheid government.
December 1997 –
early 1998
As ZCTU SG Tsvangirai leads demonstrations against the government for raising taxes. The country comes to a standstill as widespread looting takes place, especially in the capital city, Harare.
September 1999 Together with other activists, Tsvangirai founds the Movement for Democratic Change, posing the first significant opposition threat against the Zanu-PF party.
2000 General Election Tsvangirai’s new MDC party shakes up Zanu-PF as it gains 57 parliamentary seats, against Zanu-PF’s 62.
2002 Ari Ben-Menashe, an Israeli businessman, alleges that Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, had asked him to help “eliminate” President Robert Mugabe. Tsvangirai is arrested on treason charges.
2003-2004 Tsvangirai is tried for treason.
The trial ends in 2004 with his acquittal.
2001 – 2005 Tsvangirai is arrested several times as Zanu-PF works to frustrate him and the MDC
2005 The MDC party splits over a disagreement on a decision to participate in future elections. Welshman Ncube’s splinter MDC is formed.
2007 Tsvangirai is arrested and badly beaten suffering a fractured skull. He is arrested again just weeks after release.
March 2008 Elections Tsvangirai’s MDC shocks Zanu-PF as he defeats Robert Mugabe in the presidential elections first round. Zanu-PF however unleashes a wave of political violence that results in the death of hundreds of MDC members resulting in Tsvangirai pulling out of the run-off election. Later negotiations with Zanu-PF result in a Government of National Unity.
February 2009 Following the GNU negotiations, Tsvangirai becomes the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. Mugabe retains the president position.
6 March 2009 Tsvangirai’s first wife Susan Tsvangirai dies in a car accident along the Harare-Masvingo highway
May 2016 News breaks that Tsvangirai has been rushed to South Africa for treatment over an undisclosed ailment.
June 2016 Tsvangirai discloses to the media that he has colon cancer and is undergoing treatment in South Africa.
June 2016 Tsvangirai appoints Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri as MDC-T vice presidents. The party now has three vice presidents. The other is Thokhozani Khupe, who was elected at the party’s last congress.
2017 – Feb 2018 Infighting to succeeding Tsvangirai starts and escalates in the MDC-T between Chamisa, Mudzuri and Khupe. Reaches unprecedented heights in February 2018 threatening a broken party ahead of the 2018 general election.
14 February 2018 MDC Vice-President Mudzuri announces on Twitter that Tsvangirai has died.