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Thousands of Zimbabweans Pay Last Respects to Susan Tsvangirai


Thousands of Zimbabweans gathered in a Harare stadium on Tuesday to honor the memory of Susan Tsvangirai, the late wife of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, four days after her death in a highway crash that Mr. Tsvangirai has said was accidental but which remains controversial among some officials of his party and segments of the public.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported from Harare.

Before the mass memorial ceremony in Glamis Arena on the Harare Show Grounds, family, friends and dignitaries attended a funeral service in a Methodist church in the Mabelreign section of Harare. President Robert Mugabe there urged the nation to rally behind the unity government and avoid violence, saying Mrs. Tsvangirai would have wished Mr. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change and his ZANU-PF to cooperate.

Some have expressed fears that lingering suspicions about Mrs. Tsvangirai's death could undermine the tenuous relationship between the governing partners, but political analyst John Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe professor, told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he doesn't expect this to happen.

Meanwhile, lawyer Chris Mhike, representing the driver of the truck involved in the crash, who has been charged with culpable homicide, told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that 35-year-old Chinoona Mwanda has been released on bail but is deeply distressed and shaken.

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