HARARE, February 20 ‑ Zimbabwe’s late main opposition party leader Morgan Tsvangirai received a befitting send off at a commemoration service by party supporters in Harare on Monday.
Tsvangirai died on February 14, at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, after battling colon cancer for at least two years.
Speaker after speaker praised the late MDC-T leader for “fighting for democracy and a better life” for Zimbabweans.
MDC-T interim leader Nelson Chamisa said when he was still a student leader in college, Tsvangirai approached students and encouraged them to “fight the source [of problems] and not the symptom”.
Former Zambia Congress of Trade Unions leader Fackson Shamenda described Tsvangirai as a courageous man, who was “very stubborn, but at the same time was a human being, he had a heart”.
“Morgan was beaten. Morgan was mistreated by this government. When his wife died in a car accident, he accepted to work as prime minister,” Shamenda said, adding he asked the late MDC-T leader why he wanted to “sleep in the same kraal with the devil”.
“But Morgan responded: ‘The best we can heal our wounds is to put our differences aside. The man [former President Robert Mugabe] wanted to kill me, but I have forgiven him because revenge is for God’.”
Thousands of Zimbabweans attended the commemoration service at “Freedom Square” ‑ an open space behind Rainbow Towers Hotel, where the saw the white-and-gold casket he lay in for the first time since his body was flown into the country on Saturday evening.
As the hearse left Freedom Square, there was near-stampeding as party supporters – largely the youth – jostled to get near and wave goodbye to their leader.
Tsvangirai’s body was taken to One Commando military camp, where it was to be flown to his final resting place at his Buhera rural home.
He will be buried Tuesday afternoon after the initial Monday date was moved.
Former Kenyan prime minister and main opposition Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga flew into the country on Monday, and are expected to address mourners.
– African News Agency (ANA),