It was only last month that Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, as part of a coalition government with President Robert Mugabe, after two disputed elections and months of negotiations.

The terrible news today is that the new Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, and his lovely wife of 30 years, Susan, was killed.

Our condolences go out to the family. afp

The accident occurred 60 km outside of Harare, when a truck veered into his car, causing it to turn over three times.  The initial reports were that the driver fell asleep at the wheel.

Or was he asleep?

Photo AFP from AlJezeerah website.

AlJezeerah reports:

Haru Mutasa, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Nairobi, Kenya, said that Tsvangirai’s car was travelling as part of a convoy at the time of the crash.

“People are wondering how this could happen if he were travelling in a convoy. Why was his car the only one apparently damaged?” she said…

The UKTelegraph also mentions that many Zimbabweans, both locals and among the diaspora, also are wondering about the official story. There have been at least three assasination attempts on Tsvangirai’s life in the past, and several MDC officials have been killed in car accidents.

Now, it is entirely possible that it was merely a car accident, with a truck driver falling asleep at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. When I lived in Africa, I was in a major “rollover” accident caused by faulty tires, and my mother’s car was broadsided by another car who skidded on a turn. We also had several other missionaries/NGO workers killed or injured in accidents.

The accidents occur due to faulty maintenance, “counterfeit” parts that fail, misjudgement from lack of experience driving, and of course falling asleep (in Zimbabwe, many of the major highways are straight, boring, with few landmarks, leading to sleepiness and slowness in reflexes when something does go wrong).

So my guess is that it was indeed an unfortunate accident.

On the other hand, political assassinations are not unknown in Africa, and right now, several MDC members have been jailed, including Roy Bennett, a member of Mr. Tsvangirai’s cabinet.

Until Mr. Tsvangirai is well enough to talk to the press, rumors will continue, and civil unrest is a real threat to destablize a country that already faces cholera and economic collapse.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She writes on Zimbabwe at Makaipablog.

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