BY NIZBERT MOYO THE late founding MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda has been described as having been politically mature and a unifier during his lifetime.
This was said by former MDC legislator Paul Themba Nyathi yesterday in Bulawayo during commemorations of Sibanda’s life and his contribution to opposition politics and trade unionism.
Born in 1944, Sibanda died on August 24, 2010.
He was the president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) when the MDC was formed in 1999. The late MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai was ZCTU secretary-general then.
Sibanda became an MDC Member of Parliament in 2000.
The event was organised by Ibhetshu LikaZulu and was attended by various political activists, residents and civic society organisations.
Nyathi described Sibanda as a person who was not power hungry.
“Unfortunately, our politics has become so toxic that we are the unhappiest country according to world rankings. We sleep badly the whole night; wake up in the morning with nothing to eat and nowhere to take a bath. After that one is told how to vote and forced to do so,” Nyathi said.
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“There is a language that has been taught by the system that we find ourselves in — the language of hate speech, and brutality, but people like Sibanda had a different idea.”
Nyathi said when Sibanda was a legislator, he moved a motion to impeach the late former President Robert Mugabe, and also challenged Mugabe after he mocked him saying he (Sibanda) had no capacity to rule the country because he was an engineman/train driver.
“He told Mugabe face-to-face that he had driven trains but he had never derailed them, unlike he (Mugabe) who had derailed the whole country,’’ Nyathi said.
Fellow former MDC executive Thokozani Khupe described Sibanda as a selfless office-bearer.
“This yellow movement that we find ourselves in came from the strong foundation of men like Sibanda; this is why it is still strong like this. When we were at ZCTU, and after negotiations with the government, we found out that the prices of commodities went up the following day and people decided that we should form the opposition MDC,” Khupe said.
Different participants described Sibanda as a courageous and humble person who sacrificed for the whole nation.
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