OPPOSITION MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday returned to work at the party’s headquarters, Harvest House, after a two-month absence while receivingtreatment for cancer of the colon.
He presided over the party’s national executive and national council meetings. There had been fears within his party that his prolonged absence would have a negative impact on the MDC-T’s capacity to come up with robust strategies in response to the escalating socio-economic crisis in the country.
Hundreds of supporters turned up at the party’s headquarters in Harare to welcome the former prime minister. Party spokesperson Obert Gutu said Tsvangirai returned “upbeat, vibrant and up to the task of leading the party”.
“He chaired the party’s national executive committee and also attended the national council meeting chaired by our national chair Lovemore Moyo,” Gutu said in an interview last night.
Tsvangirai’s last major public appearance was in April when he led thousands of MDC-T officials and supporters in a protest march in Harare over worsening economic conditions and growing poverty.
The party also protested against the disappearance of journalist-cum-political activist Itai Dzamara and demanded action over President Robert Mugabe’s assertions that US$15 billion reportedly generated in Chiadzwa could not be accounted for.
Tsvangirai was forced to cancel subsequent plans to lead another protest march in Mutare late last month due to ill-health and he subsequently revealed that he had been diagnosed with the disease after being referred to South Africa by local doctors.
He underwent several medical procedures, including chemotherapy.
Party sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that Tsvangirai received treatment at Donald Gordon Medical Centre, the teaching hospital at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa’s commercial hub of Johannesburg.
His return coincided with the increasing wave of protests by a cross section of Zimbabweans, civil servants, civil society organisations and the opposition.
Two weeks ago, Beitbridge residents took to the streets in violent protests and torched a warehouse belonging to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority in protest over the statutory ban on the importation of basic goods, which many unemployed people re-sell for a living.
Clergyman Evan Mawarire subsequently called for a job stay-away, which received wide support last week before calling for for another shutdown on Wednesday and Thursday this week.