Harare — A powerful orator from humble beginnings, Morgan Tsvangirai was arguably Zimbabwe’s most popular politician. He came within a whisker of unseating Robert Mugabe, only to be outmanoeuvred and ultimately outlived by his longtime nemesis. At the peak of his career, the self-taught son of a bricklayer served as prime minister to Mugabe’s president in a 2009-13 unity government cobbled together after a disputed and violent election in which scores of his supporters were killed. His presence helped stabilise an economy in free-fall but Mugabe reneged on pledges to overhaul the former British colony’s partisan security forces and Tsvangirai was shunted back into his familiar role as opposition gadfly. A hefty electoral defeat in 2013, blamed in part on Tsvangirai’s involvement in two sex scandals, put paid to his dreams of one day leading the Southern African nation. Three years later he revealed he was being treated for colon cancer. He died on Wednesday aged 65, after 18 months ...

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