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Hon. Murisi Zwizwai: Sleep Well Freedom Fighter!

At times, Tsvangirai did not even have airtime or fuel to travel around and mobilize the political base. One of the people he could rely on was none other than Zwizwai.



Dr.Phillan Zamchiya

Dear Reader,Death is a villainous coward.

It visited us in the family in the wee hours of the 1st of June 2024.

Reader, as we slept, it robbed us of a family man, Morgan Tsvangirai (Save)’s treasure, a man of craft competencies, a gentle giant, a trusted loyal friend to many, a political negotiator, a pillar of the democratic struggle, a gifted humorous organizer, a loving and humble cadre and a freedom fighter.

Once death strikes there is nothing you can do. Whether you are a high-flying scientist from Mars, death humbles you. Only Jesus Christ, Jesus of Nazareth conquered death.

For us, made of flesh, dust we are and to dust we shall return.

This was the reality as Honourable Murisi Zwizwai, an opposition politician, was finally buried at Glen Forest cemetery in Harare today the 4th of June 2024.

Zwizwai was a mere 54 years old. Well, it is God’s choice and no appeal.

At this somber hour, I hear whispers and shrills trying to demonize Zwizwai, even in his death. Reader, remember we are only on earth temporarily.

So, there is no need to flog a dead man.

After all, none of us is without sin.

You are only fortunate to be roaming the corridors of life.

So, run your race, and wish the dead well.

That is how we create a better world and prepare for eternity.

Our African ubuntu does not allow such callousness over a dead body, especially over political differences whether real or perceived.

Well, Zwizwai is gone. He cannot answer you. He is with his God.

It seems the freedom fighters who saw it all, love and honour him still.

That is why Advocate Nelson Chamisa, Tendai Biti, Sesel Zvidzai, Chalton Hwende, Lynette Karenyi-Kore, and many others were at his funeral to honor his heroic contribution to the struggle for democratic change in Zimbabwe.

Reader, Zwizwai was a true and loyal friend to Tsvangirai till the very end.

A man of service and sacrifice. Very few people would know that Tsvangirai was a lonely man after losing power in 2013 and as cancer took its toll.

I often went to Tsvangirai’s residence at 49 Kew Drive, Highlands in Harare, and found the old man in the gardens by himself.

At times, Tsvangirai did not even have airtime or fuel to travel around and mobilize the political base.

One of the people he could rely on was none other than Zwizwai.

I remember Zwizwai giving Tsvangirai his car so that political mobilization for democratic change would not stop.

When Tsvangirai’s medical bills became so astronomical, Zwizwai negotiated with the government to pay out Tsvangirai’s pension as former Prime Minister.

He was not only a loyal friend but a brilliant negotiator who was always unassuming and calm but deadly in effectiveness. Reader, Zwizwai was loyal to Save even in the last days.

We sat in many closed-door meetings together.

I once spotted Zwizwai at an MDC Alliance rally in Mutare on 29 January 2018 wearing a white beard that he said ‘belonged to Tsvangirai’.

It was an expression of loyalty to Save who was in the hospital battling cancer.

Zwizwai was also a trusted and loyal friend to many.

Tsvangirai and Chamisa trusted him with sensitive political assignments that required a person of valor and exceptional negotiating skills.

Zwizwai carried these assignments to the best of his ability sometimes risking his life.

Reader, I have recently contacted several cadres from different factions of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

There was consensus that Zwizwai was a comrade with a good heart.

I also read several obituaries even from far-away lands and the rhythm is the same.

To me, this is a hallmark of a comrade. Sadly, in his last days, Zwizwai could not get as much as he gave to others.

Perhaps his ultimate reward is with the Lord.

However, there were many like Chalton Hwende who stood with him to the very end.

Reader, Zwizwai was a gifted organizer who used political humor to galvanise the Movement Democratic Change (MDC)’s social base for real change.

I remember very well how he used to animate the crowds during the MDC election campaigns. As Senator Sesel Zvidzai said, ‘he was also a great speaker who mastered the effectiveness of figurative expression’.

Zwizwai coined the slogans: ‘Todhla huchi na Tsvangirai’ (Honey time with Tsvangirai) and ‘Todhla huchi na Chamisa’ (Honey time with Chamisa) earning him the nickname Huchi (Honey).

Mudhara Huchi’s famous slogan still reverberates in the minds of many, like yesterday. He would bellow: ‘Mugabe hambaaaaah, Tsvangirai Yaaah!’ to the delight of the crowd.

He would then descend into a ‘Hambaaah, Yaaah, Hambaaah, Yaaah’ chorus with the crowds magnetically chanting along.

I remember the inaugural MDC Alliance rally held at the Zimbabwe Grounds in the Highfields suburb of Harare on 5 August 2017.

Reader, just after ZANU Ndonga delivered its message, Zwizwai stepped on the stage with his ‘Hambaaah, Yaaah’ chorus to wild cheers from the masses.

Mudhara Huchi was organically linked. After the rally, I stopped at Club Joy in Highfields to buy Sadza Nenyama.

To my surprise, the young revelers were still in a frenzy shouting ‘Hambaaah, Yahhh, Hambaaah, Yaaah’ with their brown bottles.

That was impact. Ooh reader, at the same event, Zwizwai was so humorous. He even made the crowd recite the folktale: ‘The House that Jack Built’.

It was a reference to the Alliance that Tsvangirai built.Reader, Zwizwai had two types of crafts.

He had both craft competency and craft literacy skills. He demonstrated this when he was a Member of Parliament for Harare Central from 2003 to 2020 [he was recalled by the MDC led by Dr Thokozani Khupe] and from 2022 to 2023.

He was then appointed Senator in 2024 by Prof Welshman Ncube-led CCC formation but had no time to demonstrate his capabilities, as death knocked.

This decision was largely unpopular with the grassroots opposition supporters.

The circumstances are still to be told and the politics behind the politics is still to fully manifest.

We shall hear. Reader, during the inclusive government from 2009-2013, Zwizwai exhibited his competencies as the Deputy Minister of Information when he pushed for media reforms and as Deputy Minister of Mines where he fought for the demilitarisation of diamond mining fields.

Even the usually acerbic George Charamba, the spokesperson of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, ate humble pie and conceded that Zwizwai was ‘an excellent Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity under GNU, and during my time at the Ministry.

We worked very well, even as we belonged to different parties’.

The opposition has lost a good and exemplary political competitor who accepted defeat gracefully.

When Zwizwai lost the CCC primary election to represent Harare Central constituency in the 2023 general election, I asked him how he felt.

He had some complaints about the process but he graciously accepted the result and wished the winner, Hon Lovemore Jimu, well.

That is why Jimu felt it easy to attend Zwizwai’s funeral in Waterfalls. In some constituencies, competitors are sworn enemies.

I also reached out to Hon. Gladys Hlatywayo who participated in the same primary election and she described Zwizwai as ‘an extremely good human being’.

Reader, Zwizwai was an extraordinary man of great love, generosity, and hospitality.

He made his floral business space in Kensington, Harare a comfortable home for comrades from all walks of life. T

he place became known as ‘kumaruva’ in the local lexicon.

Comrades like Hon. Chalton Hwende, Maureen Kademaunga, Happymore Chidziva, Wellington Chikombo, Tererai Obey Sithole, Jacob Mafume to mention a few, and others from as far as Mutoko would gather here under the sun, the moon and stars.

As a gentle giant, Mudhara Huchi would prepare sadza, musoro wemombe, mabhonzo, mazondo, matumbu, and maguru for his guests.

Of course, the delicacy meals were accompanied by fine whiskey and beers for comrades to refresh and discuss contemporary political issues.

I now hear that when Chamisa took over power after Tsvangirai’s demise in 2018 most of the strategies were crafted here at Maruva, dear reader.

Some comrades would leave with nice perfume gifts from Mudhara Huchi. Whenever I met Huchi, his first question was, ‘Dr mauya nehuchi ere?’ (Dr have you brought fine whisky?).

We would then laugh. I have always argued that fine whisky and apples are good for the brain. Reader, ‘maruva’ became home for many comrades.

It is Chinua Achebe who said. ‘A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes.

When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound.

We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so’. For Mudhara Zwizwai, it was good for comrades to do so.

Wherever he is, he would still love comrades to do so. Reader, it is good for comrades to have honey time.

Now that Zwizwai is gone, I wonder who else can provide a home for comrades as ‘kinsmen’.Go well, Mudhara Huchi.

Go well freedom fighter. There is nothing we can do, for we are made of flesh. Your time of departure was at hand.

Take pride in that you fought the good fight. You have finished your race. You have kept your faith.

Reader, we tremble because we are still to finish our race.

But to dust we shall also return, but at least Zwizwai returns with a legacy.