Morgan Tsvangirai Fast Facts

Posted at 1:35 PM, Feb 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-27 15:35:57-05

Here’s a look at the life of Morgan Tsvangirai, former prime minister of Zimbabwe.

Birth date: March 10, 1952

Death date: February 14, 2018

Birth place: Gutu, Masvingo, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)

Birth name: Morgan Richard Tsvangirai

Father: Chibwe Tsvangirai, a bricklayer

Mother: Lydia Zvaipa

Marriages: Elizabeth Macheka (September 15, 2012-February 14, 2018, his death); Lorcadia Karimatsenga (November 18, 2011-November 30, 2011, divorced); Susan (Nyradzo) Tsvangirai (1978-March 6, 2009, her death)

Children: with Loretta Nyathi: Ethan; with Susan (Nyradzo) Tsvangirai: Millicent, Vimbai, Rumbidzai, Edwin, Vincent and Garikai

Other Facts:
Was the oldest of nine children.

Left school at age 16 to help support his family.

During the 2009-2013 power-sharing agreement, he served as chairman of the council of ministers, deputy chairman of the cabinet and prime minister.

1974-1984 – Union member and organizer at the Trojan Nickel Mine. He starts at the mine as a plant operator and rises to general foreman in 1975.

1988 – Becomes secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

1989 – Persuades ZCTU to cut ties with the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. Serves several weeks in prison on charges of being a South African spy.

1997 – Leads a national strike, the first in the nation’s history, demanding economic reforms to combat Zimbabwe’s high inflation and unemployment rate.

1997 – Days after leading a strike, is beaten unconscious and nearly killed in his ZCTU office by supporters of President Robert Mugabe.

1998 – Co-creates the National Constitutional Assembly, a civic society organization seeking to curb Mugabe’s presidential power.

September 11, 1999 – The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is launched with Tsvangirai as president.

2001 – Is arrested for alleged threats against Mugabe.

February 25, 2002 – Is arrested and charged with treason in a suspected plot to assassinate Mugabe.

March 9, 2002 – Loses to Mugabe in the presidential election.

February 3, 2003 – Trial on charges of treason and attempted assassination begins.

June 2 and 6-20, 2003 – Is arrested and later jailed for allegedly violating the Public Order and Security Act by encouraging a general strike lasting five days in the capital city of Harare.

October 15, 2004 – Is acquitted of the February 2002 treason charges by Zimbabwe’s High Court.

March 11, 2007 – Is severely beaten while in police custody after being arrested on his way to an anti-government protest rally.

April 1, 2008 – Claims victory in the presidential election.

May 2, 2008 – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announces a runoff election between Tsvangirai and Mugabe, although Tsvangirai receives more votes – 47.9% to 43.2%.

June 22, 2008 – Pulls out of the runoff, declaring that he can “no longer participate in a race that’s been marred by the widespread intimidation, torture, mutilation and murder of his supporters.”

September 15, 2008 – After successful negotiations, Mugabe and Tsvangirai sign the Global Political Agreement, which states Tsvangirai will become prime minister and Mugabe will remain president.

January 30, 2009 – The MDC agrees to join the unity government.

February 11, 2009 – Is sworn in as the second Zimbabwean prime minister.

March 6, 2009 – With head and neck injuries, walks away from a head-on collision that kills his wife Susan.

October 16, 2009 – Along with the MDC, Tsvangirai boycotts the coalition government after violence increases and Roy Bennett, one of MDC’s leaders, is arrested on charges of terrorism.

November 5, 2009 – Boycott of the coalition government ends.

March 10, 2011 – Says he wants a “divorce” from the 2009 power-sharing agreement after the arrest and harassment of cabinet ministers belonging to the MDC party.

November 30, 2011 – Announces he has divorced his wife, Lorcadia Karimatsenga, of less than two weeks.

April 2012 – Announces engagement to hairdresser Elizabeth Macheka.

September 15, 2012 – Defies a court order and marries Macheka. The court said Tsvangirai is already in a “customary marriage” to another woman. They intend to appeal the cancellation of their marriage license.

November 2012 – Reaches a financial settlement with Karimatsenga to formally end their relationship.

August 3, 2013 – Loses in the presidential election with 34% of the vote, to Mugabe’s 61%, according to the election commission. Tsvangirai alleges widespread fraud and promises to challenge the results in court.

August 16, 2013 – Withdraws his court case challenging Mugabe’s re-election.

June 27, 2016 – Reveals he is suffering from colon cancer.

February 14, 2018 – Dies in a South African hospital at the age of 65.

March 2018 – Tsvangirai’s wife files her husband’s estate with the Master of the High Court, which leads to a legal battle with his children and extended family who cannot agree on an executor.