Panic as Tsvangirai is airlifted to SA hospital

Mr Morgan Tsvangirai

Mr Morgan Tsvangirai

Tinomuda Chakanyuka, Senior Reporter
MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai is in a stable condition at an undisclosed South African medical facility after being taken to the neighbouring country, his spokesperson Mr Luke Tamborinyoka has said.

In a statement yesterday, Mr Tamborinyoka dismissed reports that his boss was airlifted to the neighbouring country on a life support system after his health deteriorated.

Mr Tsvangirai was reportedly airlifted to Johannesburg around 2am on Friday on a chartered private jet, according to media reports.

Mr Tamborinyoka said Mr Tsvangirai, who last year disclosed that he was fighting cancer of the colon, had been flown to South Africa for “a routine medical procedure”.

Said Mr Tamborinyoka: “President Morgan Tsvangirai, who flew to South Africa for a routine medical procedure, is in a very stable condition contrary to morbid media reports that he is critical and is battling for his life.”

He said his boss had given assurance that he would be back home “soon” to campaign for next year’s general elections.

“This morning (yesterday), he was assuring Zimbabweans he will be home soon; urging the nation to co-operate with the on-going nationwide exercise to acquire birth certificates and national registration documents that will enable them to exercise their right to vote. He urged the nation not to panic about his health, saying he will be home soon to play his part in canvassing for massive participation in next year’s watershed polls,” said Mr Tamborinyoka.

Media reports yesterday said that Mr Tsvangirai’s health deteriorated as he was attending an MDC-Alliance strategic meeting in Kadoma on Thursday.

He was rushed to Harare after vomiting convulsively. He was then reportedly rushed to South Africa accompanied by his wife Elizabeth, a Dr Alifazema and an anaesthetist nurse only identified as Muzavazi.

Mr Tsvangirai’s poor health has seen some sections in his party demanding a clear succession plan in the event that he becomes incapacitated.

Other parties in the Alliance have reportedly raised similar concerns. Tsvangirai’s problems have been exacerbated by growing differences with his deputy, Ms Thokozani Khupe over the pre-election pact.

The MDC-T leader is squabbling with Ms Khupe who is against the idea of a coalition in the Matabeleland region where she believes the party can go it alone. Another split of the opposition party has been predicted as a result of the rift between Mr Tsvangirai and Ms Khupe, who has the backing of influential party members in the region.

However, our Harare Bureau understands that the politician is critically ill. Sources said Mr Tsvangirai received emergency treatment at Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Johannesburg. He was also due for a session of chemotherapy as the politician continues with his battle against cancer of the colon. No immediate comment could be obtained from Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre as their landline went unanswered yesterday.

An MDC-T insider based in Johannesburg told our Harare Bureau that Mr Tsvangirai was “in excruciating pain”.

“He is not well, his condition is not looking good. We, however, hope for the best. Arikurwadziwa mukuru wedu (Our boss is in pain),” he said.