Tsvangirai's daughters fly home to mourn death of their mother

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – TWO of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's daughters who live in Australia will fly to their injured father's side after their mother was killed in a collision with a truck.

Susan Tsvangirai, 50, died on Friday when the car in which she and her husband were travelling collided with a truck carrying US aid on the outskirts of the capital, Harare, on a decrepit road notorious for accidents.

The Tsvangirais’ elder daughter, Vimbai, believed to be in her mid-20s, has reportedly been working for Sydney City council.

Their second daughter Rumbidzai, aged about 23, an economics graduate of Perth’s Murdoch University, appeared at a Perth rally last year in support of her father before Zimbabwe’s elections.

Mr Tsvangirai may be released from hospital this weekend, said Douglas Gwatidzo, head of casualty at the Harare hospital where the Prime Minister was being treated.

He said the Prime Minister had head injuries and chest pains, but was in stable condition.

State television showed pictures of Mr Tsvangirai in a neck brace, which Dr Gwatidzo said was being used to keep him comfortable.

"We might release him today or tomorrow," Dr Gwatidzo said.

The Tsvangirais have had six children in their 31-year marriage.

It has been reported their teenage twins Millicent and Vincent and a son Edwin, aged about 31, live in South Africa, while another son Garikai, aged about 28, lives in Canada.

Ian Makone, a secretary to the Prime Minister, said Mr Tsvangirai was "very devastated by the death of his wife".

He said her children were flying to Zimbabwe from Australia and South Africa and funeral arrangements were being made.

Mr Tsvangirai’s party wants an independent investigation into the crash, a politician said yesterday.

"We will not get involved in any speculations until a full investigation has been conducted. Right now can’t draw any speculations," said Eddie Cross, an MP from Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party. 

A US embassy official said the truck involved was transporting medicine donated by the US Government for AIDS patients.

State-run newspaper The Herald reported on Saturday that the two other people in Mr Tsvangirai’s car – the driver and a bodyguard – were also injured.

Mrs Tsvangirai was pronounced dead soon after arrival at a clinic about 40 kilometres from Harare, Mr Makone said.

Britain and the United States, both supporters of Mr Tsvangirai, have sent condolences.

President Robert Mugabe spent about an hour at the hospital late on Friday.

Mr Tsvangirai, who turns 57 next week, was sworn in on February 11 as Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister in a power-sharing deal meant to end almost a year of deadly stalemate with Mr Mugabe.

The unity Government was formed under pressure from neighbouring leaders who wanted Zimbabwean leaders to turn their attention to a growing humanitarian and economic crisis after years of rivalry between Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980.

Mr Tsvangirai formed the MDC a decade ago.