THE late opposition MDC stalwart Morgan Richard Tsvangirai who died on 14 February, five years ago, is turning in his grave because some of his family members and close associates have joined the Zanu PF regime which tormented him until death, his former spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka has told The NewsHawks.
Tsvangirai died of colon cancer in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2018.
“I suppose MT (Tsvangirai) is turning in his grave, mostly because of the state of the country. Zimbabwe remains mired in the rot and murk, some five years after his death. Like others, he had given this so-called new dispensation some chance but what it has shown is that we jumped from the frying pan into the fire,” Tamborinyoka said.
“He is turning in his grave because Zimbabwe is now far much worse than it was in 2018 when he died. The other reason is that I suppose those who were close to him and some of his family members have joined the regime which some of us are so sure that it had a hand in his death.
“His illness and death, some of us believe that the regime had a hand in it. But some of his close friends and family members have joined the same regime which tormented him from 1987 when he was leader of the ZCTU and so many times as leader of the opposition.
“Now some of his family members have joined the same Zanu PF party which tormented him.”
Last week, Tsvangirai’s brother Collins, was paraded at a Zanu PF function in Harare as one of the opposition figures who had joined the ruling party. He was personally welcomed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Tsvangirai’s former secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora has also been dismantling the opposition after assuming the MDC Alliance leadership through a court order that nullified Nelson Chamisa’s leadership.
Mwonzora, whom many opposition supporters say is a proxy of Zanu PF, recalled several MPs who worked with Tsvangirai, grabbed party headquarters and is enjoying the government grants albeit with minority support after formation of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Chamisa.
Tsvangirai’s son Vincent, who is an MP, also rebelled against Chamisa and worked with Mwonzora after the 2018 elections.
While Mwonzora says his MDC is fronting Tsvangirai’s legacy and uses his face as one of its party symbols, Tamborinyoka said the state of the opposition party was a mockery to late opposition stalwart’s legacy.
“Indeed, the Tsvangirai we all know must be turning in his grave because the MDC he led never got zero votes in an election, even in urban areas, as it is now doing under Mr Douglas Togaraseyi Mwonzora. The man has taken the once political behemoth to the mortuary,” he said.
“The party Tsvangirai led never consorted with the regime to the extent of having the party’s headquarters that we named Morgan Tsvangirai House being protected by the police and soldiers as it is doing under Mr Mwonzora. The people who tormented him now turning Morgan Tsvangirai into a second Zanu PF headquarters? For all these reasons, the icon from Humanikwa in Buhera must be violently twisting and turning in his grave.”
In 1999 Tsvangirai co-founded and organised the Movement for Democratic Change with Gibson Sibanda, Welshman Ncube, Fletcher Dulini Ncube and Isaac Matongo among others.
Tsvangirai was arrested after the 2000 elections and charged with treason; this charge was later dismissed.
He had told 40,000 supporters at a rally in Harare that Mugabe did not want to step down before the next elections scheduled for 2002 “we will remove you violently.”
In 2003, Ari Ben-Menashe accused Tsavangirai of plotting to overthrow the Zimbabwean government in a coup d’état, resulting in him being charged of treason.
In 2004, Tsvangirai was acquitted of the treason for an alleged plot to assassinate Mugabe in the run-up to the 2002 presidential elections. George Bizos, a South African human rights lawyer who was part of the team that defended Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu in the famous South African Rivonia Trial in 1964, headed Tsvangirai’s defence team.
In May 2003 Tsvangirai was arrested on a Friday afternoon shortly after giving a press conference, the government alleged he had incited violence. In the press conference he had said: “From Monday, 2 June, up to today, 6 June, Mugabe was not in charge of this country. He was busy marshaling his forces of repression against the sovereign will of the people of Zimbabwe. However, even in the context of the brutalities inflicted upon them, the people’s spirit of resistance was not broken. The sound of gunfire will never silence their demand for change and freedom.”
On 11 March 2007 a day after his 55th birthday, Tsvangirai was arrested on his way to a prayer rally in the Harare township of Highfield.
His wife was allowed to see him in prison, after which she reported that he had been heavily tortured by police, resulting in deep gashes on his head and a badly swollen eye. The event garnered an international outcry.
Tsvangirai was the MDC candidate in the controversial 2002 presidential election, where he lost to Mugabe in the bloody polls.
He beat Mugabe in the first round of the 2008 presidential election as the MDC-T candidate, taking 47.8% of the vote according to official results, placing him ahead of Mugabe, who received 43.2%.
Tsvangirai however claimed to have won majority votes and said that the results could have been altered in the month between the election and the reporting of official results.
He initially planned to run in the second round against Mugabe, but withdrew shortly before it was held, violence against his supporters countrywide.
He was later made Prime Minister in 2009 in an inclusive government with Mugabe.
As the 2017 Zimbabwean coup d’état occurred, Tsvangirai asked Mugabe to step down. He hoped that an all-inclusive stakeholders’ meeting to chart the country’s future and an internationally supervised process for the forthcoming elections would create a process that would take the country towards a legitimate regime.
He died in February 2018, Tsvangirai died at the age of 65 after reportedly suffering from colorectal cancer.
He had a long history of victimization in his political career.