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Zimbabwe premier: 'No foul play' in fatal crash

The accident killed Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's wife of 30 years. Many opponents of President Robert Mugabe have been victims of suspicious crashes.

March 10, 2009|Robyn Dixon

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA — Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday sought to quash speculation among his supporters and others that a car accident that injured him and killed his wife was an assassination attempt.

"In this case I want to say there is no foul play. It was an accident that unfortunately took away her life," he said, addressing supporters outside his home in Harare, the capital.

Many opponents of President Robert Mugabe have been killed in suspicious car crashes. Some survivors have described nearly losing control of cars after the wheel lug nuts were loosened.

So to many in Tsvangirai's party, which long battled Mugabe's regime before joining a unity government last month, Friday's collision between the prime minister's car and a truck raised questions.

Tsvangirai was to celebrate his 57th birthday today but will instead attend a memorial for Susan Tsvangirai, his wife of more than 30 years. She will be buried Wednesday.

The Tsvangirais' car, which was second in a three-vehicle convoy, was sideswiped by a truck that had veered onto the wrong side of the road. The truck was carrying medical supplies provided by a joint U.S.-British aid project.

The prime minister's car rolled three times, and his wife was thrown from the vehicle. She died a short time later.

The driver of the truck, Chinoona Mwanda, 35, has been charged with culpable homicide. He appeared in court Monday. He will blame the accident on the very poor state of the roads, according to media reports citing his attorney.

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robyn.dixon@latimes.com

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