Mourning Tsvangirai the people's hero

HARARE - It is often said that you are lonely when you are dead but not with the late Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, the former MDC leader and once prime minister in the inclusive government, who died on Wednesday at a South African hospital after losing his battle with colon cancer.

Rarely do we praise politicians, but in this case we will have done a great disservice to our country to ignore the enormous contribution Tsvangirai made to his beloved Zimbabwe.

Even in this dark hour, it is pleasing that the death of Tsvangirai has touched everyone — from those with acerbic tongues such as Jonathan Moyo who never missed an opportunity to attack him over his alleged personal indiscretions — to the presidium and those beyond these shores.

Such was the appeal of the man.

Tsvangirai was a hero of the people of Zimbabwe whom he gave so much in his quest to bring change.

He risked his life by taking on a political monster in former president Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF not once, not twice, but many times as he carried hopes of a nation that believed the future lay outside those who brought freedom.

Tsvangirai — more than many of us — worked tirelessly and selflessly for most of his adult life in service of the nation and for a better Zimbabwe for all.

Indeed, such was his contribution to a better Zimbabwe that ousted Mugabe — now one of the most despised human beings in our country, along with his unhinged wife Grace — made it his evil business for more than two decades to ruthlessly destroy this unquestionable living national hero and much beloved Son of the Soil.

Yes he made a few errors in his personal life but who doesn’t?

What distinguished Tsvangirai from many opposition politicians who had been there before him was that he considered people before himself.

One of the outstanding examples of this undeniable fact was his decision to join Mugabe in an inclusive government despite winning elections which he was denied victory under peculiar circumstances where results were held for six weeks and his supporters murdered in a bloody run off.

Tsvangirai went against the whole world and joined Mugabe to save the people of Zimbabwe from plunging into what could have been a serious civil conflict. He gave away his legitimacy to Mugabe to re-ignite hope under a power sharing arrangement, in which he was a junior partner.

This is the man whose death has touched every heart, a formidable politician to defeat Mugabe hands down in an election and an opponent of the nonagenarian who could not live to see the transformation of the people of Zimbabwe beyond Mugabe’s fall.

We mourn a giant, a towering compatriot and an unassuming man who spent 18 years in the trenches, fighting for political change.

Now that he is gone our fear is that state of democracy and that of the MDC could be imperilled.

We saw the mind-blowing bloodletting in the MDC when he was nearing the end of his life.

His grave health did not discourage vultures from circling heartlessly over the legacy, political positions and worldly possessions of this giant — one of the greatest and bravest social justice fighters to have emerged from our troubled country.

We have all watched in horror over the past few weeks as his political comrades in the MDC, as well as some of his blood relations, increasingly acted disgracefully — at a time that most right-thinking Zimbabweans were hoping and praying that his illness will in fact work to bring the country together.

While Zimbabweans could understand Mugabe’s thuggish and wicked treatment of Tsvangirai over the past four decades of Gushungo’s misrule — because he was only ever interested in his own welfare and that of his family and thieving minions — it was hard to fathom why Save’s comrades and family would work to desecrate his name and legacy, the way they did.

The MDC hyenas even in the wake of Tsvangirai’s death were still fighting viciously.

Yesterday, the MDC held two press conferences – one at the party’s Harvest House headquarters and another at the late prime minister’s Highlands mansion – as the fissures widened in the country’s largest opposition party.

Tsvangirai did not stand for this comical and divisive stuff.

He was a unifier who sacrificed for his country and does not deserve this.

There will only ever be one Morgan Tsvangirai!

This is the man who has millions adoring his works even in death.

And certainly he’s not lonely!

Rest in Peace. Zorora murunyararo. Lala ngoxolo.

You fought a good fight Save.

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