Morgan Tsvangirai
Durban - As Zimbabweans prepare to lay to rest Morgan Tsvangirai, people from both sides of the fence have paid their respects to the former leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Tsvangirai died last Wednesday at Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Johannesburg after battling colon cancer.

His death came six months before elections were to be held.

Tsvangirai was set to be buried at his Buhera home, more than 200km south-east of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, on Tuesday.

Zimbabweans living in South Africa have voiced their views on the late opposition leader’s legacy.

Kudzai Njitimana, of Glenwood, said he respected Tsvangirai as a leader of the opposition party.

Njitimana said it was important to have a strong opposition party like the MDC so it would keep the ruling Zanu-PF on its toes.

He said Zimbabwe had gone far considering that it was formerly colonised.

Lead

Njitimana, however, believed that Tsvangirai and his party were not ready to lead the country.

The law lecturer said that when Tsvangirai was prime minister from 2009 to 2013, during a government of national unity, there were a lot of scandals and failure of members to run their departments efficiently.

This failure was demonstrated in Zanu-PFs landslide victory in 2013 as the MDC leader lost popularity, Njitimana recalled.

The father of one said he respected Tsvangirai as a fighter for human rights. “Without his contribution as the opposition, Zimbabwe would not be where it is,” Njitimana said.

Tapiwa Munjoma, of Musgrave, said Tsvangirai fought against a tyrannical government that had been advocating a one-party state.

Fought

“He fought it when it was suicidal to do so. He was beaten, faced treason charges and was accused of working with Western countries,” Munjoma said.

It would be difficult to find a leader who was of Tsvangirai’s calibre, he said.

Although he commended the efforts of new President Emmerson Mnangagwa to attract investment, it was something that could not be done alone.

Munjoma said Mnangagwa needed support from civil society, business and churches, among other stakeholders.

“Tsvangirai is a national hero and deserves to be buried with full military honours (21-gun salute). He will be remembered as a true leader, someone whose name deserves to be mentioned in the same sentences as those of greats like Joshua Nkomo, Herbert Chitepo, Samora Machel and Kwame Nkurumah.

“However, his 18-year hold on power, even when he was gravely ill, reminds one of the leadership problems faced by many African political movements,” Munjoma said.

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