Tsvangirai quietly slips into Zimbabwe, says 'feels safe'
Police had manned roadblocks on the airport route, but they did not intervene as Tsvangirai left the Harare airport after returning home for the first time in more than six weeks.
Tsvangirai arrived at the airport aboard a regular South African Airways flight around 1030 GMT.
He did not speak to the media on arrival.
"He looked jovial, and was smiling," a Reuters journalist at the airport said.
Officials of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said he would first be briefed by other party leaders and was scheduled to address reporters later Saturday.
"I feel quite safe," Tsvangirai told reporters on the way to the Johannesburg airport earlier Saturday.
Before leaving for the airport, he said farewell to his family with a quick: "OK. Cheers," on the front porch of his northern Johannesburg home.
One of his twin daughters snapped pictures with her mobile phone. Tsvangirai said it was not clear when his wife and six children would join him in Zimbabwe.
The MDC leader faces a June 27 runoff election against the increasingly autocratic President Robert Mugabe.
Tsvangirai won the first round of voting at the end of March against Mugabe and two other candidates, but not, according to official results, by the simple majority needed to avoid a second round against the long-time president.
Independent human rights groups say opposition supporters have been targeted in a campaign of violence aimed at ensuring the 84-year-old Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, wins the second round. The violence poses serious questions about whether the run-off can be free and fair.
Tsvangirai has spent most of the time since the first round outside the country. He planned to return to Zimbabwe a week ago but delayed the trip after his party said he was the target of a military assassination plot. The government dismissed the claims as a “fantasy”.
Tsvangirai said he left Zimbabwe on April 8 to present regional leaders with information that Mugabe's military planned attacks on the opposition. He said then, he expected to be away only a few weeks, but instead embarked on an international tour designed to rally support for democracy in Zimbabwe.
"I'm sure that we have managed to ensure an African consensus about the crisis in Zimbabwe," he said, adding it was now time to turn his attention to rallying his supporters.
The MDC has vowed
to "bury" Mugabe in the run-off, ending his uninterrupted
rule since independence from Britain in 1980. - AP/Reuters
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