ED PLEDGES TO HONOR TSVANGIRAI LEGACY
President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday mourned veteran opposition leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, describing him as a national figure “who obdurately insisted on free, fair, credible and non-violent elections as a way of strengthening our democracy and our overall re-engagement with the rest of the world”.
The MDC-T leader died at a South African hospital on Wednesday after a long battle with cancer of the colon.Other opposition leaders and organisations also consoled the Tsvangirai family yesterday.
President Mnangagwa expressed his sorrow in a condolence message to the Tsvangirai family.
“On behalf of the ruling Zanu-PF party, Government, our nation, and that of my family, I wish to express deepest condolences to the Tsvangirai family on the sad passing yesterday (Wednesday) of Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, the former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe and leader of the opposition MDC-T party,” he said.
“A strong trade unionist and opposition leader, the late Tsvangirai will be remembered especially for his readiness to stretch and reach out across the political divide for a Government of a National Unity after the polarising 2008 elections. Both in and after the Government of National Unity, he remained a national figure who obdurately insisted on free, fair, credible and non-violent elections as a way of strengthening our democracy and our overall re-engagement with the rest of the world.”
President Mnangagwa continued:
“Whatever other controversial decisions he and his MDC-T party may have made in the past, we all remember him for his insistence on free, fair, and peaceful elections which we must validate in the forth-coming 2018 harmonised elections in tribute to him and to our democracy.
“This, we owe him as political leaders of all contesting parties in our country which deserves unfettered peace and stability. As part of building political consensus in the country ahead of the harmonised elections, I shall soon be inviting leaders of all political parties for a day-long consultative meeting.
“Indeed, the ethic overarching collaboration above fair and peaceful contestation must be cultivated and entrenched into our national politics for all times.”
President Mnangagwa said consultations were already underway between Government and the Tsvangirai family to determine what the State could do to ensure a befitting send off for Mr Tsvangirai.
Advocate Nelson Chamisa, who was named by MDC-T as the interim president yesterday, told a press conference that they had lost a champion for democracy.
“President Morgan Tsvangirai was a champion of the workers’ struggle, a doyen of democracy, a diplomat and a statesman – all rolled into one,” he said.
“Zimbabwe, Africa and indeed the world will always remember yesterday 14 February 2018 as a black Wednesday.”
MDC-T deputy president Engineer Elias Mudzuri, who is also fighting for the party presidency, yesterday said: “Tonight I paid my condolences to the late president’s family at his Highlands home. The Tsvangirai family together with us, is finding it difficult to come to terms with the passing on of our iconic democratic leader. May his soul rest in peace.”
MDC-T deputy national chairman Mr Morgan Komichi said: “The party, the people of Zimbabwe feel strongly that president Tsvangirai is a national hero, he has been declared a national hero. We have as a party suspended all party programmes until after the burial of our president.
“We have also set a committee of the leadership that will liaise with the family on matters of the funeral.”
MDC leader Professor Welshman Ncube said in a statement: “We have lost a brother, a leader, an icon, a man of the people. As we mourn his passing, we also celebrate his extraordinary life of courage, humility and service to the working people of our beloved country.
“Without doubt, the country has lost one of the most iconic, distinguished and charismatic leaders of our time. We are truly the poorer without him.”
The European Union Delegation in Zimbabwe consoled the Tsvangirai family in a statement yesterday, describing him as a courageous trade unionist and politician.
“He will be remembered as a great trade unionist and a courageous man who, as president of the Movement for Democratic Change since its foundation in 1999, stood up for multi-party democracy and justice,” said the EU.
“The EU offers its condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the former Prime Minister in these difficult times.”