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Zimbabwe's Opposition Leader Has Colon Cancer

  • VOA News

FILE - Zimbabwe opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai addresses a news conference in Harare, Sept. 18, 2013.

FILE - Zimbabwe opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai addresses a news conference in Harare, Sept. 18, 2013.

Zimbabwe's longtime opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has revealed he is suffering from colon cancer.

The 64-year-old Tsvangirai said in a statement Monday that he was diagnosed last month in South Africa and had what he called a very successful operation. He said he will undergo further medical procedures, including chemotherapy treatments that he began this week.

He said he chose to make his condition public due a "firm belief that the health of national leaders, including politicians, should not be a subject of national speculation and uncertainty."

The last comment is likely a jab at Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, who is 92 years old and travels periodically to Singapore for unspecified medical treatment.

Tsvangirai, who leads the Movement for Democratic Change party, has run against Mugabe in three presidential elections. He won the first round of voting in 2008 but Mugabe won a runoff poll that critics said was deeply marred by violence and voter intimidation.

Speculation about Tsvangirai's condition rose last week when he failed to attend an MDC rally in the city of Mutare, instead addressing the crowd by phone.

Tsvangirai said Monday he is determined to overcome his condition.

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