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    Thursday, 14 February 2019

    Tsvangirai died in episodes - Biti



     Tendai Biti was the Secretary General of the MDC during Tsvangirai’s time, a former finance Minister, the current Deputy Chairperson of the MDC and Member of Parliament. He writes in his personal capacity.

    He was a Statesman who loved his country without a doubt!
    The unpalatable suffering of the masses and the working class bled his heart. The world was cruel to him and it never gave him a break yet he put up a brave face and kept on dreaming.
    For decades he carried the hopes of the Zimbabwean people on his shoulders, he never relented, he was the captain of a ship who kept its compass and guided the crew.
    A sailor who never deserted the waters, even when the sea was dangerous with sharks lurking his vicinity, aggressive waves and many a time in the middle of the storm!
    Some storms were natural; some man-made but ultimately their combination took a toll on his life, wore him down and killed him in episodes.
    While the 14th of February is the day he was officially called by the maker, I saw pieces of his life taken away at intervals.
    He was always dying, his close lieutenants watched helplessly. Always in turmoil and tenacity. In his words he was thrown into “the deep end.”   
    On March 11, 2007 he was brutalized by Police officers in Highfield during the Save Zimbabwe campaign.
    The perpetrators were competing to beat him; they each took turns to take a piece of his life. He was left with head injuries which caused heavy bleeding and bouts of dizziness. He was thrown in jail with him 110 other leaders of the MDC, all worried about his condition.
    I never felt that helpless. The dark episode took away a part of his life, the fraction the beatings took away never came back.
    He was brutalised for committing no crime,  a part of his life taken away for being a democrat and exercising a Constitutional right.
    The right to form, join and participate in activities of a political organization of one’s choice.
    Persecuted for the freedom of assembly and expression.
    The perpetrators have never paid the price, neither did those that gave them the orders nor has an apology been proffered.
    Yet Morgan Tsvangirai kept pushing, devoted as before, relentless and with conviction.
    After the episode he led the MDC with determination and reached new milestones dragging Mugabe screaming to the negotiating table and achieved Constitutional amendment number 18 under which the 2008 election was held.
    It was an achievement considering Mugabe’s intention to postpone the election for years.
    This was despite the fact that Morgan had indeed lost another piece of his life when he split with Dr Gibson Sibanda in November of 2005.
    They were long-time comrades, they had fought long time struggles together, they entered a lion’s den and swam upstream in crocodile infested rivers.
    This also ate into his life. It was an unfortunate episode which bore Morgan down and took away yet another part of his life. At Gibson Sibanda’s funeral in 2010, Morgan described the split as the saddest thing of his political career.
    Tsvangirai soldiered on, he won the harmonized election of 29 March 2008 yet a pre-emptive coup by the military prevented him from taking over power.
    In his magnanimity he humbled himself and accepted a junior role in a government which was legitimately his. This was in selfless pursuit of transformation of lives of the people of Zimbabwe.
    Yet another part of his life would be taken away, a huge part of his life. A better half to use the language of the millennials.
    The death of Susan Nyaradzo Tsvangirai in a mysterious accident on the 6th of March 2009, a person who had been a pillar shook Dr Tsvangirai’s life to the core. She was a priceless source of moral support.
    For this reason she was highly respected and the ordinary Zimbabwean’s affinity for Susan was seen at her funeral in Humanikwa village in Buhera.
    She had been by his side for the better part of his life. I felt the pain of the man when I went to see him at the Avenues Clinic. I was in the company of Ian Makone.
    Dr Tsvangirai rose from his hospital bed put himself together and returned to the murky waters of the struggle where sharks, hungry for a midnight snack still awaited.
    Sailing with his crew, he took the economy to amazing economic growth rates not witnessed by Zimbabwe since 1980.
    In the vicious corridors of power where ZANU PF vultures circled, he led a team in the writing of the Constitution and he overcame dishonesty, polarization and selfish agendas that characterised the process.
    Before reaching these milestones, Morgan had yet again lost another piece of his life just under a month after the death of his wife.
    He lost his grandson Sean who drowned in a swimming pool on the 4th of April 2009; a clear reminder than he had lost the covering he always had in Susan.
    He received the news when we were at a workshop and I could tell that the man was no longer the same.
    The journey we walked in the Government of National Unity under his leadership despite the circumstances was therefore a sign of dynamism and determination on his part.
    A huge chunk of him would die again after the electoral fraud of 2013. The results meant the people of Zimbabwe were going to face many more years of suffering again and this always saw Morgan’s heart bleed.
    We held a meeting at his house on August 3, 2013 and Morgan was not the same.
    Something died in November of 2005,something died on the 11th of March 2007,a big chunck of him died on the 6th of 2009, something died on the 4th of April 2009 and something died in 2013.
    Yet he kept rising up till his final resting day. The 14th of February was just an end to a process which had taken place over the years.
    Morgan redefined the scale of Red on Valentine’s day, he redefined the length the color is worn.
    Seas of red were at Harvest House, they were at his home in Highlands, they flocked the Methodist Church and swarmed Freedom Square before invading Humanikwa village. Days of donning the Valentine’s colours!
    The man had kept the fight, remained selfless and dedicated. We owe a lot to his leadership and we appreciate his ability to rise above all of us and prevail through superior thoughts.
    He displayed his humility before he was laid to rest by presiding over a complicated process of MDC reunification leading to the formation of a formidable alliance.
    It was a process which involved management of big egos and big personalities, selling a vision and reminding every actor of the need to be selfless in pursuit of long time goals of the struggle for the democratization of our nation.
    As they say a good leader is one who creates leaders, he left behind many. Most now have profiles of their own, all under the leadership of Nelson Chamisa who also benefited immensely from his mentorship.
    Not long from now history shall record “Here celebrate the followers of Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, they have finally arrived.”
    He Rests in Power

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