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Thousands in Zimbabwe bid farewell to democracy icon


REUTERS
HARARE
IN a sea of red T-shirts, thousands of Zimbabweans bade farewell on Monday to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, whose death has opened divisions in his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party only months before elections.
Tsvangirai died on Feb. 14 aged 65 after a long battle with cancer and is due to be buried on Tuesday in his rural home of Buhera, 200 km (130 miles) southeast of Harare.
Party faithful converged on a square in downtown Harare to bid farewell to a man whose career was defined by his rivalry with long-time president Robert Mugabe, who was ousted in November.
"This is the People's General, who led the poor, the workers and the youth since 1988. We grieve with hope that the army that the general built will finish the work that he started,"former MDC legislator Munyaradzi Gwisai told the crowd.
McHenry Venaani, the opposition leader in neighbouring Namibia, described Tsvangirai as a"doyen of democratisation of Africa"who had"started a journey of a thousand miles into immortality."
In life, Tsvangirai and his supporters were beaten, humiliated and accused of treason.
In death, the ZANU-PF party has accorded Tsvangirai rare respect.