The National Super Alliance leader, Raila Odinga, left the country for Zimbabwe to attend the burial of firebrand opposition and Movement for Democratic Change leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who died last Wednesday after a long battle with colon cancer.
Odinga left Nairobi at 1 PM for Harare. He will then travel to Buhera, some 300 kilometres from Harare where the MDC leader will be laid to rest Tuesday.
The two leaders who have been long time friends, first met in 1993 when Odinga led an International Republican Institute team to train political parties and civil society in Zimbabwe for the multi-party elections that were approaching.
At that time, Tsvangirai was with Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum; a civil society organization founded in 1992 to ensure that the Zimbabwean citizens are informed about human rights and are empowered to defend their own rights.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa revealed that Tsvangirai will receive a State assisted funeral as he had served in the Government of National Unity (GNU) although he will not be declared a National Hero.
Mourners are currently gathered at Tsvangirai’s Highlands residence in Harare.
A memorial service for Tsvangirai was held in a packed church in the capital Harare, while outside hundreds of supporters of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) gathered.
Tsvangirai died in hospital in South Africa on 15 February at the age of 65.
President Emerson Mnangagwa visited Tsvangirai’s family to offer condolences ahead of the service.
“Let us all be brothers and sisters, and come together and mourn our former prime minister,” he said after his visit.
“When we write the history of this country, we cannot leave out the participation and role that the former prime minister played in the effort to entrench democratic values in this country,” Mr Mnangagwa added.
The new president, who took over following the military ousting of Mr Mugabe in November, called for “fair, free and credible” elections, which are due to take place this year.
Tsvangirai, the fiercest opponent of Zanu-PF rule, had led the opposition MDC since its formation in 1999.