FORMER President Robert Mugabe has sent a message of condolences to the family of his long-time political arch-enemy Morgan Tsvangirai, who died of colon cancer last week.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Acting MDC-T leader, Nelson Chamisa confirmed Mugabe’s message during Tsvangirai’s burial yesterday.
“We have received a letter from Mugabe and (former First Lady) Grace,” Chamisa announced to rapturous applause.
However, the details of the message were not made public.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has already condoled the Tsvangirai family and was yesterday represented by Zanu PF national chairperson, Oppah Muchinguri at the burial.
“I have come to represent President Mnangagwa. We are here to assure you that the government will fulfil it’s promises to the family. We worked together when Tsvangirai began organising workers while working with us in government,” she said before she was drowned out by whistles and cat-calls from the partisan crowd.
It took Chamisa’s intervention to pacify the crowd, as Muchinguri stood there motionless, but seemingly undeterred.
“Please allow her to speak. We are a democratic party and should be tolerant. We cannot behave like Zanu PF when we are fighting to change our governance and political system,” he said.
“You are very courageous people. If you see sheep walking into a lion’s den, you should stand up and take notice. You have earned my respect along with (Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister) Monica Mutsvangwa.”
Muchinguri showed she has a thick political skin by picking up from where she left.
“His (Tsvangirai’s) record speaks for itself. The thousands of people gathered here is testament to Tsvangirai’s greatness.
“He put his country first and made sure the rights of others are respected before his. We worked with Tsvangirai at the most difficult time during the Government of National Unity. He was passionate about creating opportunities for all Zimbabweans and women empowerment. Women must celebrate this man,” Muchinguri saidm ironically to applause from the same crowd that had booed her earlier.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who also attended the funeral, was blunt in his speech, accusing Zanu PF of having brutalised and killed Tsvangirai.
“We are mourning a great Zimbabwean, a great African. He had courage, he walked a hard road. He was arrested, harassed and brutalised by (former President) Robert Mugabe’s administration. There are Zanu PF people here, they killed Tsvangirai,” he said.
“We take the lesson of service and sacrifice from this icon. Zimbabweans must be brave and we learn this from Tsvangirai. We must not deny ourselves and be determined.”