While it is accepted that Morgan Tsvangirai’s family could not mourn him in normal privacy because of his iconic status on the Zimbabwean political stage, what amounted to indecent and crude over-intrusiveness shown by some complete outsiders cannot go unmentioned and uncensured.
By CONWAY TUTANI
It’s not that the late main opposition MDC-T leader was particularly or uniquely disorganised in his private and public life, but these things happen when such tragedy happens, as seen from the ugly family fights over Tsvangirai’s estate which have been conflated with party wrangles to succeed him.
Those siblings of Tsvangirai overstepping ought to be educated that as the law stands, the estate matter is between Tsvangirai’s widow, Elizabeth, his children and no one else. I had, as part of the extended family, occasion recently to attend a matter at the Master of the High Court, where a brother of the deceased was bluntly and categorically told of that immutable position that the matter was only of concern to his widowed brother’s wife and her children when he tried to rope in his mother, his sister and himself into the matter, as some of Tsvangirai’s brothers are now doing. So, they are better advised not to waste their time and fury.
Granted that there will always be family politics, but this was made even more toxic by the budging-in of these outsiders. These nosy elements nearly succeeded in making Tsvangirai’s funeral one of those farcical ones to forget. Even yobos can be at their best behaviour for solemn occasions, but a section of MDC-T dimwits would have none of that. These empty vessels who are deficient in intelligence certainly made the loudest noise. Linked to that, some senior MDC-T official has been saying he has a recording of Tsvangirai stating his choice of successor.
But, legally speaking, oral wills are as invalid as they come except in the most exceptional of circumstances — under which Tsvangirai’s dying wish does not fall — and a legal mind like Advocate Nelson Chamisa, the purported beneficiary of that recording, very well knows that the events leading to Tsvangirai’s death were not, in the least, exceptional. So, Chamisa, it’s your duty to disabuse some of your supporters of this unschooled notion, as you can still make it to the top without riding on their ignorance.
True, most unfortunate words were said by Tsvangirai’s mother that she did not want to see his widow, Elizabeth, and disputed MDC-T leader Chamisa at the funeral or else she would kill herself. These things, regrettable as they are, happen, but then these yobos took it upon themselves to mock Tsvangirai’s mother with unprintable words. Did Tsvangirai’s mother utter any profane words warranting the foul and vulgar response? Not in the least.
The surviving spouse, particularly if there are no children, is almost always painted as a black widow, a woman who sucks life out of a man, a widow with at least one, but usually more than one dead husband who died under “suspicious” circumstances, and the widow usually winds up very well off from the husband’s insurance and/or inheritance from his estate.
It should be remembered that after the tragic death of his first wife Susan in an accident in 2009 in which he sustained serious injuries, Tsvangirai became one of the most eligible bachelors in Zimbabwe. An eligible bachelor is defined as a bachelor considered to be a particularly desirable potential husband or boyfriend, usually due to wealth, social status or other specific personal qualities. Well, Tsvangirai had achieved national status which drew women to him, but it does not follow that all women he associated with were gold diggers.
And Elizabeth’s father, Joseph Macheka, dispelled this notion about his daughter, saying: “Before she married the former Prime Minister, she had acquired a number of properties, including one in Borrowdale, and her businesses were doing quite well . . .”
Was her only crime being beautiful and being much younger than Tsvangirai?
Continued Macheka: “Mr Tsvangirai told also told me that when his relationship with Elizabeth became known in public, a delegation of the female leadership in the MDC asked him not to go ahead with marrying my daughter. The MDC leaders told him that marrying Elizabeth would be akin to getting into a marriage with Zanu PF. But I admired his magnanimity because he remained humble and respectful to us, his in-laws, despite our political differences and the pressure he faced from his party.”
This is to remind voters at large that some of those who are now siding with Elizabeth were dead against her marriage to Tsvangirai and are now only doing so for factional reasons, for political expedience.
Indeed, when such madness erupts around us, there is always someone who keeps his wits about him/her to put things into context and perspective after the dust has settled. And, Macheka, Tsvangirai’s father-in-law, has done exactly that — and more. What he said did not detract from the occasion. It did not belittle, devalue, diminish and trivialise Tsvangirai’s funeral like the misguided so-called MDC-T vanguard did.
Wrote Macheka about Tsvangirai: “On many occasions, our discussions centred on politics. We often joked about our political rivalry, him being leader of the main opposition and me being a National Consultative Assembly member for the ruling party, Zanu PF . . . Our modus vivendi on our political differences is something that other people can draw lessons from because belonging to different political parties should not be a cause for conflict.”
Modus vivendi is a way of life, especially a working arrangement to allow for co-existence between two parties in spite of differences or unresolved differences. This is what is needed as we approach the 2018 elections — not this empty boastful talk we are hearing from some youths that they want to wipe off the map their opponents. These over-robust youths are dangerously getting ahead of themselves. Somebody needs to tell them to slow down — like Tsvangirai unhesitantly and publicly censured then MDC-T youth leader Solomon Madzore at a rally in Marondera in 2013, an election year like this year.
It’s time to yank these youths into maturity.
lConway Nkumbuzo Tutani is a Harare-based columnist. Email: email@example.com