HARARE – Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai suffered severe vomiting after a party meeting and was airlifted to a Johannesburg hospital, a senior party source said on Saturday.
Tsvangirai – who is due to challenge President Robert Mugabe in elections next year – was stable, the source said, dismissing reports in the media that he was dangerously sick.
The 65-year-old’s symptoms came on suddenly at a meeting of his opposition coalition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), on Thursday evening in Kadoma, a city around 160 km (100 miles) southwest of the capital Harare, the source said.
Two other Zimbabwean political sources confirmed the details of his sudden illness and airlift on Friday to South Africa. But the MDC said in an official statement that Tsvangirai was in South Africa for a routine medical procedure.
“Morgan Tsvangirai … is in a very stable condition contrary to morbid media reports that he is critical and is battling for his life,” the MDC statement said.
The announcement came a month after Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, seen as a favourite to succeed 93-year-old Mugabe, was rushed to South Africa for emergency medical care. Mnangagwa, who has since returned, dismissed local media speculation that he had been poisoned.
Tsvangirai said last year that he was being treated for colon cancer. The party source said on Saturday the sudden illness was not related to that condition.