Home Letter From Zimbabwe So long the people’s hero

So long the people’s hero

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So long the people’s hero
So long the people’s hero

My journalism hat might constantly fall off as I write this week’s column. Like most Zimbabweans, I am saddened by the death of opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, a man who put his life and that of his family at risk in his quest for a better Zimbabwe.

For standing up to former president Robert Mugabe and challenging his rule which had literally destroyed the country’s economy, Tsvangirai was humiliated, beaten up, harassed and charged with treason which carries a death sentence.

And even though he was robbed of election victory in almost all the elections he participated in, he never gave up but continued to fight the brutal regime until the painful end of his life.

That is why even his long- time enemies cannot help but talk of how brave he was to challenge Mugabe.

Addressing a record breaking crowd that gathered in Harare to mourn and celebrate the life of the veteran opposition leader, President Emmerson Mnangagwa acknowledged that Tsvangirai walked a hard journey.

Mnangagwa could not bring himself to utter the word “hero” to describe Tsvangirai, but no doubt his speech was full of praise for a man they regarded as the enemy of the state and a puppet of the West.

To many Zimbabweans, Tsvangirai is a hero whose legacy will live for generations to come for he kept their hopes high even though it was against all odds.

He may not have ruled Zimbabwe as he was denied that chance despite victory but Tsvangirai will forever remain the president that we never had.

His tenure as the prime minister no doubt brought some stability into the economy and for once in many years, there was hope that Zimbabwe will rise again.

Even in his death, Tsvangirai still seems to inspire even those in power who have said this year’s election should be free and fair in his honour for it is what he advocated for in his lifetime, while those in opposition are urging the electorates to honour him by finishing what he started, which is to end to the Zanu PF rule.

The sad thing though is that even before he had breathed his last, his party was already crumbling due to infighting over who would take over when he is gone.

At his memorial service and funeral, some party leaders were booed and chased away respectively for seemingly not supporting, acting president Nelson Chamisa.

What a sad turn of events and what a dishonour to the man who preached peace and unity even as he walked through the valley of death as he fought against Zanu PF.

And like his former advisor, Alex Magaisa poignantly penned in a poem in his honour, there will never be one like Morgan. He was indeed a rare gem of our generation.