Tsvangirai’s premature condolence message on Mugabe’s death

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

THE late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, at one time, had prepared a condolence message on former President Robert Mugabe in 2016 following widespread rumours on social media that he had passed on.

In the unpublished condolence message, Tsvangirai said Mugabe’s rule invoked mixed feelings among Zimbabweans and the world at large.

“Indeed, for better or for worse, no man has had more impact on the State and the politics of this country in the last 35 years than President Robert Mugabe; from the time of the liberation struggle to the present moment. President Mugabe defined and influenced the destiny in the country both positively and
negatively. That was, indeed, the hallmark of his leadership and his legacy; that it invoked and encapsulated mixed and diverse feelings in Zimbabwe, in Africa
and in the broader international community,” wrote Tsvangirai then.

Tsvangirai, who served as Prime Minister under Mugabe during the inclusive government, noted that the late former President was, indeed, a founding father of
Zimbabwe.

“I join my fellow countrymen in grief and reverence over the death of our founding father, Mr Robert Mugabe. To friend and foe alike, he leaves behind a rich
legacy and an indelible imprint on the history of this country and our continent of Africa,” the late MDC founding leader wrote.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai appeared sworn enemies.

“For me, while we had our own differences, which are in the public domain, I still retain fond memories of the many moments he agreed with my viewpoints,
especially in the era of the inclusive government — a government that had a positive impact on the lives of the people of our country. It may have been an
inclusive government of exclusive players in terms of our different ideologies and viewpoints, but together, we worked for the betterment of our country,” he
said.

He, however, blamed the economic woes and failing of the State on Mugabe.

Former Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka confirmed the statement, saying when it was authored, the MDC had gathered intelligence that Mugabe was no
more.

“Mugabe was very sick and frequently being flown for treatment to Singapore. On the 1st of January 2016, President Tsvangirai gave me points to put in a draft
statement in case of Mugabe’s death,” Tamborinyoka said.

“They had vast differences and Mugabe had tortured, arrested and humiliated him (Tsvangirai), but he frequently told me that revenge is for the Lord. There
will be more about their relationship, including frequent clashes and some more juicy detail in the forthcoming book, Service and Sacrifice, which I was
assisting President Tsvangirai to write.”

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