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    Friday, 27 July 2018

    Vimbayi Tsvangirayi Java – a chip off the old block





    MATTHEW TAKAONA

    MASVINGO- Her voice, her looks and all mannerism are just Morgan Richard Tsvangirayi.
    Her giggles that echo away and now her direct involvement in politics makes 35-year-old Vimbayi Tsvangirayi Java a chip off the old block.
    When the MDC T led by Nelson Chamisa settled on her as the party's Parliamentary candidate for Glen View Constituency many thought that this was just a gesture to acknowledge the Tsvangirai family for the crucial role it played in the fight for democracy in Zimbabwe.
    Far from it!
    Vimbai who is married to Pastor Batsiranai Java of the 13-year-old Tabernacle of Grace Church has been in politics from the time of the formation of MDC T in 1999. She has been her father's right hand person from the family side.
    She is the only sibling who was with Tsvangirai in Zimbabwe when the rest stayed abroad.
    Being one of the members of the "infamous" so called kitchen cabinet, Vimbai is probably the only person with the key to her father's deepest secrets.
    Vimbayi together with her six siblings went into exile in South Africa, Australia and Canada when the threat to their lives became real during the reign of former President Mugabe. She left for Australia where she joined the University of New Castle and did a Bachelor of Development Studies, Urban and Regional Planning.
    Her departure for the exile did not stop her participation in politics as she became heavily involved in the mobilisation of resources for MDC T. She returned to Zimbabwe in 2009 and worked in the background alongside her father since then.
    "The kitchen cabinet was so called because it was suspected to involve close family members who were thought to have a lot of influence on Morgan. I was one of the suspected members of that kitchen cabinet which some branded as notorious particularly in 2009," said Vimbayi with a chuckle.
    She said that she travelled a lot with her father and did his tasks to do with politics.
    Contrary to public perception, Vimbayi's mother Susan Mhundwa Tsvangirai was also heavily involved with party work. She was a mobiliser and her favourite constituency was Glen View where she was instrumental in the formation of party structures. Susan was an arbiter in the party resolving conflicts that arose.
    "Many people think that Glen View was chosen as a safe seat for me. This is not true. I went into that constituency because that is where my mother worked hardest and she loved it. I am continuing with her work," said Vimbayi.
    Vimbayi together with her campaign manager Philda Muringani were busy with elections campaigns when The Mirror popped in at Tsvangirai's former Strathaven home in Harare for an interview.
    She is confident that she will retain the seat on behalf of the MDC Alliance. She said there is a crisis in Glen View. There is poor service delivery in the suburb and the major risks to the constituency are typhoid and cholera because the suburb gets water sometimes once a week, there are rampant sewer bursts and rubbish goes uncollected for months.
    As a result she has been mobilising residents for clean-up campaigns. She said if elected into office she is going to use her strong background as a town planner to influence the course of things in Glen View.
    "We have very high chances of winning these elections. We have the brand and definitely we are going to win," she said.
    Vimbayi is the third child and first daughter to Morgan. She said she had the blessings of all her five siblings for her work in politics and in particular Edwin who is Tsvangirai's first born has been urging her on. All siblings except Vimbayi are staying abroad.
    Edwin is a quantity surveyor and he is living in South Africa, Garikai who is the second born is in Canada. Rumbidzi who comes after Vimbayi is in Australia together with the last two siblings Vincent and Millicent who are twins.
    Vimbayi was born on July 25, 1983 in Bindura where her father worked at Trojan Mine. She went to Haig Park Primary School, Vainona and Mabelreign Girls High in Harare and New Castle University in Australia.
    Her husband, Pastor Java leads the Tabernacle Church which is headquartered in Harare and has branches in several towns in the country.
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