Mnangagwa says fair elections a 'tribute' to Tsvangirai

THE government will pay the late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai's outstanding hospital bill of R2m (US$172,000), president Emmerson Mnangagwa said Sunday.

Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa reports from Harare.

Political tensions within the MDC have created uncertainty about proceedings.

Hundreds of Tsvangirai's supporters, wearing the red colour of the Movement for Democratic Change party, hiked for kilometers to the airport and then to his home for a vigil.

But with Tsvangirai gone, his party seems headed for an uncertain future at a time when a chance to seize power after Mugabe's departure approaches.

Now Mnangagwa, Mugabe's longtime ally, is in charge and is reaching out to the worldwide community after years of sanctions over alleged human rights abuses and rigged elections, hoping to bring in badly needed foreign investment to revive a collapsing economy. He formed the MDC in 1999 to challenge then President Robert Mugabe, who was forced out of office in November when a military uprising ended his 37-year hold on power.

His death leaves Zimbabwe's opposition in disarray with the first post-Mugabe elections approaching.

Mnangagwa said the upcoming elections in Zimbabwe, expected by July, should be free, fair and credible as a tribute to Tsvangirai. "Mudzuri and Khupe should unite behind our efforts to remove ZANU-PF".

"Let us all be united, let us be brothers and sisters and come together and mourn our former prime minister with that spirit. We will always remember him".