As head of the MDC, Tsvangirai ran for president in 2002 and was defeated, many believe by fraud and intimidation. He also was charged with treason for an alleged assassination plot against Mugabe; he was acquitted, charged with treason again (2003), kept in virtual house arrest, and again acquitted (2004). The MDC split in 2005, and Tsvangirai headed its larger faction; it was reunited after the 2008 elections. In 2007 he was arrested and savagely beaten by Zimbabwean police. He again ran for president in the Mar., 2008, election. The MDC won a parliamentary plurality, and Tsvangirai won a plurality in the presidential contest, triggering a runoff. Subsequent widespread violence against his supporters and threats against himself led Tsvangirai to withdraw from the runoff. A power-sharing agreement in Sept., 2008, called for Tsvangirai to become prime minister; the installation of the government stalled over the assignment of cabinet posts, but he took office in Feb., 2009. The government (2009–13), however, suffered from tensions between ZANU-PF, which fundamentally was not committed to the coalition, and the MDC. In 2013 he again lost the presidential race, which once again was marred by irregularities.
See S. Chang, Citizen of Africa: Conversations with Morgan Tsvangirai (2005); biography by S. Hudleston (2005).
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