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Southern Africa Expresses Shock, Condolences After Tsvangirai Crash

Southern African leaders are sending messages of sympathy to Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who has left a hospital in Harare after a traffic accident that killed his wife.

The chairman of the Southern African Development Community, South Africa's President Kgalema Motlanthe, Saturday issued a statement expressing shock over the accident late Friday that injured Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and killed his wife, Susan. Presidential Spokesman, Ronnie Mamoepa. "The thoughts and prayers of the people of South Africa and SADC are with you while wishing you a speedy recovery to enable you to resume your national responsibilities as prime minister to assist the people of Zimbabwe in their endeavor towards national reconciliation and economic recovery," he said.

Reports say Mr. Tsvangirai's car collided with a truck on a road some 50 kilometers south of Harare causing his vehicle to roll several times. He was traveling to his home region for a political rally.

The couple was taken to a hospital in Harare where his wife, Susan, was pronounced dead. Doctors said Mr. Tsvangirai sustained head injuries and complained of chest pains. Two other occupants, a driver and a bodyguard, were also injured.

The government-owned Herald newspaper reported that the driver of the truck, which was carrying medicine donated by the U.S. government, was taken to a police station for questioning.

State television showed President Robert Mugabe and his wife visiting Mr. Tsvangirai's hospital bed Friday night. The prime minister was shown in a neck brace sitting in his bed.

Governments around the region, as well as Britain and the United States, also sent condolences.

Susan Tsvangirai, a 50 year-old mother of six children, maintained a low profile but often accompanied her husband to political events.

Mr. Tsvangirai, a veteran labor and opposition leader, joined Mr. Mugabe in a government of national unity less than a month ago. The government was formed as part of an accord mediated by SADC following disputed elections last year.

The government is trying to tackle a crisis caused by economic decline and the collapse of health, education and other public services.

However, the efforts are being hampered by a lack of funds, the flight of many skilled professionals and reported in-fighting between the various parties in power.