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Tsvangirai Speaks in Public 2 Weeks After Cancer Diagnosis

  • Thomas Chiripasi

MDC-T supporters welcome Morgan Tsvangirai.

MDC-T supporters welcome Morgan Tsvangirai.

Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai appeared in public for the first time Thursday since he underwent surgery in South Africa last month.

This happened as armed police besieged his party’s Harvest House headquarters.

Tsvangirai arrived at his party’s headquarters located in the central business district where hundreds of his supporters greeted him with wild cheers.

Tsvangirai, who underwent surgery in South Africa for cancer of the colon, told his supporters before going into meetings of his party’s national executive committee and the national council, that he was determined to continue with the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe.

Reuters journalist Philmon Bulawayo was arrested while taking pictures of the police being booed by the MDC supporters but was later released without any charges being preferred against him.

As Tsvangirai entered his party’s offices, heavily armed police with water cannons appeared at the entrance of the MDC offices while Tsvangirai’s supporters booed the law enforcement agents.

One of the MDC activists, who only wanted to be identified as Chirengu, said it was now time for all opposition forces, including civic society, to join forces with his leader in the fight for democratic change in the country.

He added that the two-day national job stay-away would have been successful if Tsvangirai and other opposition political leaders had been included in organizing the national job boycotts.

Meanwhile, two Sky News journalists were deported by Zimbabwean authorities following their arrest last night at a local hotel.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba told Studio 7 by phone that the foreign journalists, Garwen McLuckie and Alex Crawford were handed over to the immigration department that immediately deported them through the Harare International Airport.

Charamba said the two were carrying out their journalistic duties without permission from authorities as required by law. The police official said authorities were not going to watch while foreign journalists were breaking the law willy-nilly, adding that all foreign journalists intending to cover stories in Zimbabwe should first seek clearance from the information ministry and the Zimbabwe Media Commission.

At the same time, local freelance video journalist, Farai Mugano, was arrested at a local hotel while he was holding his video camera. At the time of going to air, it was not clear if Mugano had been charged.