By Paidashe Mandivengerei
IN death, Vimbai Tsvangirai-Java, daughter to crusading Zimbabwe opposition leader and late veteran trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai like her father brought political rivals together.
Friends, supporters and foes thronged the City Sports Centre in Harare to bid farewell to the late Glen View South lawmaker.
From Zanu PF politician and Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, to MDC leader Nelson Chamisa’s arch-nemesis, MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe, they came, they sang, danced, shedded tears and bade farewell to a woman who seems to have touched so many hearts in so short a space of time.
Tsvangirai-Java who was in May elected MDC secretary general for the women’s assembly from her hospital bed, died on Monday, succumbing to injuries sustained in a horror crash last month. She was laid to rest at the Glen Forest Cemetery in the capital.
The pulpit was decorated with lit candles and flowers of all colours and shades. A slideshow of Tsvangirai-Java’s videos and pictures set the tone for a spectacular atmosphere having been sombre at the beginning.
As expected, the majority of people were clad in the opposition MDC’s red apparel while members of the Tabernacle of Grace Church led by Batsirai Java, Vimbai’s husband were dressed in the funeral black gear.
MDC supporters cheered, chanting slogans as party Chamisa, with a notable security presence, arrived at the venue accompanied by his wife Sithokozile who rarely makes public appearances.
MDC Vice Presidents, Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube, former secretary general Douglas Mwonzora, ex-vice president Morgen Komichi wore suits all with red ties. Another party vice president Lynnette Karenyi-Kore was dressed in all black.
The hugely partisan crowd booed Khupe on her arrival and drowned Mudenda’s speech in heckles after the National Assembly Speaker mentioned President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s name, forcing an angry Chamisa off his seat to silence the crowd.
Renowned gospel musician, Janet Manyowa comforted the mourners with a performance of her tracks, ‘Nyasha neNgoni’ and ‘Zadzisa’ alongside Tabernacle of Grace’s choir which staged an equally good performance.
The MDC crowd roared to life as Chamisa delivered his speech and started leaving the venue as soon as he finished.
An attempt by the party leader to order the supporters to stay and allow the proceedings to end before leaving fell on deaf ears.
The late Glen View South MP’s husband, Apostle Java gave a heartfelt message describing the four weeks between his wife’s accident and death as “the most difficult season” of his life.
The proceedings were sealed by emotional scenes during body viewing.