FOR those of us who knew and worked with Morgan Tsvangirai before the glory days, he towers much larger than a party (MDC-T) and opposition politics. He was a national icon. Like all leaders who accomplish great missions controversy is part of trade.
Brian T Kagoro.
You can remember Save (Tsvangirai’s totem) minus that start-stop laugh and short check jacket of old as well as what my uncle once described as a “tsotsi” hat .
Beyond the media caricature and mythologies, Save was a simple man with predictable habits and life passions. Many never got to know him because of the propaganda and lies or simply the social and political distance.
I cannot say that I knew him better than everyone else he worked more closely with in the post-2005 era , but I knew Morgan enough and even what I knew was merely a fraction of who he was. Morgan was a man mountain, a master architect and an expert builder. He turned young men and women into leaders. Morgan gave the great and small opportunities to lead as equals without condescension. His appeal cut across class, race and ethnic divisions.
He was smeared beyond recognition, vilified and even prosecuted but he remained gracious. Morgan worked with foe and friend alike, he trusted … perhaps too much. He laughed under immense stress. From trade unions to political unions, Morgan was a consummate dealmaker. Save was a bundle of endless energy. Even in sickness he wanted to continue as the activist leader.
Mogidza, as he is affectionately referred to some of us, was an inspiration to many. He made many Zimbabweans — including those within Zanu PF — believe that change is possible. Our comrade and icon has played his part on the stage of history with such profound commitment and distinction.
Morgan was a trailblazer who cut paths in political forests that many dared not approach. The many young people standing as independents or active within other opposition political parties today are a testimony that his sacrifices were not in vain. “Boycott” was a defiant fighter for freedom who fought autocracy, dictatorship and “cancer” to his very last breadth.
Well, according to its original DNA it will not die, after all it is a movement more resilient and defiant than many give it credit for. It has fought and warded off 18 years of brutal assault, thousands of murdered supporters, displaced and exiled cadres, imprisoned and tortured leaders, infiltration and three splits.
MDC has more lives than the proverbial cat . It is a value system, a set of ideas and ideology (social democracy built on constitutionalism) and a political culture of inclusion. MDC is a party of workers and working people, not the feuding elites. Though its leadership may waver on these values this movement is very hostile to political pathogens. Its long-established political immunity system will ultimately self-correct.
For now the MDC party and broader pro-democracy movement must focus solely and respectfully on the business of giving “Save” a great hero’s send-off. MDC and the working people of Zimbabwe must own the process of celebrating Morgan’s last rite of passage. It must be a festival of life, a life lived for the struggle, for workers , peasants, vendors , youth and women. His funeral and burial must unite and not divide his family, friends and the MDC.
Tsvangirai was our brother, our hero, our leader and comrade in the struggle! He leaves behind a heritage of struggle and a vision of democracy and inclusive politics. Fambai zvakanaka (go well) Save, Penyu masakura mukazunza! (You have your job), Hamba kahle qhawe (go well hero), elakho ibanga usiliqedile (you have done your part!)
What remains is for a united party and leadership to build a genuine internal and national democracy.