It was not the death, after a battle with cancer, that threw up Morgan Tsvangirai. He was a man who rose from the base of human struggle to lofty heights of nobility. But the symbol of his days on earth completed the celebration of his heroism and love for his country.
Aged 65, the veteran Zimbabwean opposition leader who confronted Robert Mugabe’s regime for many years, had a healthy regard for those whose principles differed from his own.
Tsvangirai never despised his humble beginning; rather, he was quick to tell his inspiring life story, in order to motivate and encourage others.
Neither flashy nor flamboyant, he had qualities that were more useful: integrity, decency, vast experience, a feel for how people outside the corridors of power live and struggle and the deserved trust of his colleagues. Tsvangirai loved his country, and it showed. He was the symbol of statesmanship, patriotism, vision, and courage. These were some of the excellent leadership qualities that had guided him through his years of active public service. We salute this role model that inspired, prayed and contributed his quota to the service of God and fatherland.
His life has shown that it is possible to be a politician in Africa and be guileless and corrupt-free. It has been said that there are two types of people in politics: those who want to be great and those who want to do great things. Tsvangirai was the latter and Zimbabwe is better off because of that. He believed that everyone is exceptional and not created for the sole reason of being a member of a family; but everyone must have a voice. He always had a deep sense of commitment and desire to empower, improve and uplift people, especially the under-privileged and disadvantaged-he had a fellow feeling for people.
He was a visionary any nation should be proud to have as its leader- his work ethic, attention to details and commitment to the nation’s development , justice and fairness, have made some consider him ‘rigid’.
Tsvangirai, who founded the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in 1999, was among the most prominent critics of Mugabe, the long-time authoritarian leader who was ousted from power in November.
Mugabe’s ZANU-PF government detained him on numerous occasions due to his vocal criticism of the regime.
Security forces first swooped on Tsvangirai, then a feisty trade union leader, in 1989 after he bluntly warned about the rising tide of political repression in the country.
Ten years later he set up the MDC, which rose to pose the greatest challenge to Mugabe’s all-powerful government.
In March 2007, police badly beat up Tsvangirai and dozens of opposition activists when they attempted to stage an anti-government rally in a township in Harare.
In the election the following year he beat Mugabe in the first round of the vote — but after violence against Tsvangirai’s supporters, which he claims cost 200 lives, he was forced to pull out of the run-off.
He went on to form a unity government with the ruling ZANU-PF after disputed elections, but was widely seen as being outmanoeuvred as he served as prime minister under Mugabe.
Tsvangirai embodied the very elevation of forthrightness as an end in and of itself, requiring no further pursuit or interpretation to validate it. Tsvangirai was a detribalised Zimbabwean his acumen and resourcefulness had not only nurtured his personal vision and success but contributed significantly towards building a better world for the nation’s citizens. He led his life believing that the very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.
He did many good things for the nation and defied expectations because he was brilliant and curious and was not fooled by what most people define as success. Great men like Tsvangirai , may be no more, but what they have made people to become, because of their greatness, will forever be a guide.
To work often and hard,to separate the possible from the impossible,to live for, and about the people,to put people at ease with your honesty, to win the respect of intelligent people, and earn the appreciation of honest critics, to create and design beauty,to find the best in others,to be worried for the helplessly unhappy, to leave the world a bit better,whether by the courage he gave,or by the smiles he put on people’s faces, to know even one life has breathed easier because Tsvangirai had lived,this, is, to have made an impact.
The world will miss his light, his sunshine, his timeliness, his cleanliness, his uprightness and love for humanity. Tsvangirai will rightly be remembered as the brave man who demystified dictatorship in Zimbabwe.