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Zimbabwe's Independence Hero Dies

Edgar Tekere, one of Zimbabwe’s heroes in the fight for independence, who stopped his former ally President Robert Mugabe from establishing a one party state, died Tuesday.

Tekere was widely regarded as a key leader in the military and civil struggle against minority white rule and for denouncing corruption after independence.

Edgar Tekere was a founding member of the party which went on to be known as Zanu PF and was its secretary-general at the time of Zimbabwe's independence in 1980. He later became Minister of Labor and Man-Power Planning in Zimbabwe.

During the struggle against white minority rule, he had served ten years in prison with the future president Robert Mugabe in what was then known as Rhodesia.

Ten years after independence Tekere had been expelled from Zanu PF and ran against and lost heavily to Mugabe in presidential elections.

But many analysts credit Tekere with preventing Mugabe from declaring Zimbabwe a one party state.

Since then, and at every opportunity, Tekere claimed Mugabe had deviated from the aims of the liberation struggle. He accused his former colleagues in Zanu PF of corruption, of betraying democracy, and of mismanaging the economy

Two years ago he was guest of honor at a rally for the Movement for Democratic Change party, now in an uncomfortable inclusive government with Zanu PF.

Tekere had been ill for several years, and died as a poor man in a hospital in his home town, Mutare, in eastern Zimbabwe.

Under debate now within Zimbabwe is whether Tekere will be buried as a hero at the largely Zanu PF Heroes Acre in Harare.