MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai returned home yesterday after spending nearly a month in South Africa where he has been receiving treatment for cancer of the colon.
The former prime minister has publicly disclosed that he is suffering from cancer of the colon and has been going to South Africa for routine medical check-ups as part of his treatment.
However, last month Tsvangirai was airlifted there when he fell ill during a meeting of principals to the MDC Alliance — a grouping of the country’s largest opposition party and six other fringe parties — formed on August 5 as part of preparations for the launch of a grand coalition.
Tsvangirai touched down yesterday afternoon at the Harare International Airport where he was met by one of his vice presidents Nelson Chamisa and senior party officials.
“President Tsvangirai’s arrival has confounded morbid sceptics; some of whom had publicly wished him dead,” MDC presidential spokesperson and director of communications Luke Tamborinyoka said in a statement.
“He returns to take his rightful place in the trenches and to lead a stoic nation that has for years fought for democracy to remove a stubborn and inept government now engaged in a vicious succession struggle at the expense of the challenges facing the people.”
Since he went public with his condition, question marks have been raised whether the firebrand former labour union leader would be able to withstand the rigours of a gruelling elections campaign expected ahead next year’s make-or-break elections.
On Monday, an MDC lawmaker, Eddie Cross, claimed in a post that the former trade unionist was suffering from an aggressive form of colon cancer.
“He has been struggling with his treatment and the family is concerned that he might not handle the election and subsequently the responsibility of being president of a country in a deep crisis,” said Cross.
“After a lifetime of principled struggle, to have it all threatened by a disease in your body, is not fair . . . Life can be a bastard at times.”
Since June last year, questions about Tsvangirai’s health have dominated political discussions in mineral-rich Zimbabwe.
That was when Tsvangirai announced that he was undergoing chemotherapy in SA. The MDC president revealed in a recent Daily News interview that he had had 10 chemotherapy sessions.
He then pronounced himself that he was getting cured of cancer and resumed a hard-driving campaign to secure victory in next year’s presidential election, in which he will face a 94-year-old President Robert Mugabe.
Mugabe has said Tsvangirai should throw in the towel, claiming he has no hope of overcoming a “mammoth political party” like Zanu PF in next year’s harmonised elections and claims the bumper crowds at his presidential youth interface rallies left him “trembling”.
“It made not just the opposition tremble. Vakavamba vana Tsvangirai zvino kudedera nekumabvi uku, ndopakabva pavamba pasusukidza hurwere hwacho.
“Aiwa tinoti kandai chipfumo pasi hapana kwamunosvika. Zanu PF is the mammoth party of the country. Look at its history; takabva kupi?” Mugabe said in remarks that have provoked an angry reaction from the MDC-T. Daily News