Today the nation learnt with shock of the passing of a towering hero of the fight for democracy in our country. By all accounts, Dr. Morgan Tsvangirai faced the battle with the illness that ultimately took his life with the same courage with which he faced the repressive government of Robert Mugabe.
Morgan Tsvangirai did not choose to fight when the system he battled was at its weakest. He did not choose to fight when the threats to his life were at a minimal. He did not choose to fight when winning was assured. He chose to fight when all the odds were against him because it was right.
True heroes are those who do tremendous exploits in the land of the living in spite of their frailties. Dr. Tsvangirai was one of the greatest heroes of our time precisely because he was an everyday man with extraordinary courage and determination. None of his achievements will be dimmed by anyone’s attempt to diminish them or by the inability of those who remain to steward his legacy.
Dr. Tsvangirai dedicated his life to fight for the realization of the kind of society the late General Tongogara envisioned: a non-racial Zimbabwe where leaders would extend the full rights, protections and privileges of citizenship to all, and where all Zimbabweans could join together to build a great nation. He fought to make the sacrifices of those who lost their lives in the liberation struggle worthwhile.
In the past few decades, those who have led our nation have reserved to themselves the right to decide who our heroes are and who deserves a place in the history of our nation. On behalf of my family and our party, I call on every Zimbabwean to give this great son of the soil the hero’s sendoff he fully deserves regardless of where his body will be interred. Dr. Morgan Tsvangirai is our hero not because he fought to be buried at any place of honor, but because he fought for us.
The apostle Paul wrote the following words to his young protégé Timothy (2 Timothy 4:5) shortly before his passing: “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” We will make Morgan Tsvangirai’s sacrifice worthwhile by doing precisely that, something which he himself exemplified during his life and his courageous battle with cancer: he kept his head, endured hardship, and discharged the duties of his calling.
May the words of Paul as he departed this world (2 Timothy 4:7) be as true about us as they are concerning Dr. Morgan Tsvangirai: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
To the Tsvangirai family and the whole nation of Zimbabwe, on behalf of my family and the Build Zimbabwe Alliance, our deepest condolences, and may the soul of our hero rest in God’s peace.