Hero's welcome for Solomon Madzore

HARARE - Wild celebrations erupted in Harare yesterday after MDC youth leader Solomon Madzore returned to the party headquarters escorted by a 20-vehicle convoy after spending more than a year locked up at Chikurubi maximum security prison.

At exactly 2:25pm, Madzore walked out of the gates of Chikurubi Prison and was swarmed by scores of jovial supporters singing “Solo igamba redu (Solo is our hero)”.

The singing throng had kept vigil in the scorching sun for more than five hours.

Madzore’s two sons ran to their father but failed to reach him as he was lifted into the air by ecstatic supporters who carried him to a waiting car.

Madzore and Lovemore Taruvinga Magaya were both admitted to bail by High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu on Tuesday on $500 bail.

Madzore and 28 other MDC activists are accused of murdering police inspector Petros Mutedza in Harare’s Glen View suburb on March 29 last year, but deny the charge.

With cars hooting and some supporters blowing whistles, traffic came to a standstill as the convoy meandered through the central business district of Harare.

The unusual spectacle attracted curious stares from mid-afternoon shoppers.

Speaking to a sizeable crowd gathered to welcome him at the MDC’s Harvest House headquarters, Madzore, clad in a khaki shirt and blue jeans, railed against President Robert Mugabe, security chiefs and Zanu PF ministers.

“Pasina kusungwa hapana (Without arrests, you cannot win political) power. While in prison I heard (Patrick) Chinamasa (minister of Justice and Legal Affairs) and Rugare Gumbo (Zanu PF spokesperson) saying president Morgan Tsvangirai will not rule the country but we do not give a damn about what they say,” he said.

MDC national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa said Madzore was a hero.

“The door to a new Zimbabwe is Chikurubi, the door to the State House is Chikurubi. Solo went to Chikurubi on our behalf,” Chamisa said.

“Before we get freedom, we must lose it. This is a sacrifice for real change. Next year we will be in government and we will be the ruling party.”

Madzore’s overwhelmed wife Charity thanked the media, and the MDC for all the support.
 
Madzore’s defence lawyers were also thrilled.

“We managed to get Solo from prison with no incident at all. It was very easy as prison authorities were very cooperative,” said defence lawyer Jeremiah Bhamu.

Former Zanu PF legislator Tracy Mutinhiri also celebrated Madzore’s release.

“I came here to welcome my brother Solomon, it makes me so happy to see him back after such a long time,” said Mutinhiri.

MDC Glen View South MP Paul Madzore, who is Solomon’s brother, was close to tears as he welcomed his sibling.

“I just cannot believe he is now coming home,” he said.

“It is so hard to sink in now after he had spent close to a year in jail.

“It sort of looks normal, but now that he is out, it is unbelievable.” - Fungi Kwaramba and Bridget Mananavire

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