THE late Morgan Tsvangirai who died recently after a battle with colon cancer was a courageous man who contributed towards the birth of the new political dispensation, a senior war veteran has said.
Secretary for Veterans for the Liberation struggle in the Zanu PF Politburo, Victor Matemadanda, said he had respect for the late former PM after he legitimized the coup which ousted then President Robert Mugabe last November.
Addressing war veterans in Mutare Friday, Matemadanda said he had respect for the late MDC-T leader for standing resolute in the fight for democracy and holding of free and fair elections.
He said the war veterans fought for democracy during the liberation struggle which brought about freedom of association which led to the formation of opposition parties like the MDC.
Matemadanda said the late Tsvangirai stood firm during the coup code-named Operation Restore Legacy by throwing his weight behind the military operation which ousted President Robert Mugabe.
“I personally respect the late Morgan Tsvangirai because there was a time when we were pushed to the edge as a party after the military removed Mugabe through Operation Restore Legacy. We reached a time where all hope was lost and we needed support from fellow Zanu PF cadres to support the army actions but some party big wigs chickened out.
“Even those who today are stampeding to shower praises on President Mnangagwa chickened out leaving us in the open air. We communicated to President Mnangagwa from where he was that people were refusing to cooperate and he instructed me to do whatever I could do to get support from people,” he said.
Matemadanda told the meeting that he had to approach the late Tsvangirai at around 12 midnight at his residence and asked for his support to legitimize the Operation Restore Legacy.
“We want to set the record straight. We suffered and went through a lot but we don’t want credit. We approached the late Tsvangirai at 12 midnight and we asked for his support to legitimize Operation Restore Legacy. We pleaded and said to him, `Save muzukuru ati endai munotsigira chinhu ichi`. The following morning the opposition supported the march,”said Matemadanda, adding “Even the white community participated in the march”.
He said people should learn to make history of their own not by bootlicking but through good deeds.
“That’s why President Mnangagwa made a decision that the late Tsvangirai will get his package because he served the country as the Prime Minister. I am happy that before he died President Mnangagwa visited him and assured his family that he will help the ex-premier to secure the house and take care of all his medical bills.
“President Mnangagwa ensured that the late Tsvangirai received a state assisted funeral. He was recognized for the role he played,” said Matemadanda.
He said it was unfortunate that Tsvangirai passed on before his wish for free and fair polls had come to fruition.
“However, we hope that his dream will come to fruition after President Mnangagwa said the forthcoming polls will be held in a free and peaceful environment,” said Matemadanda.
He also said Tsvangirai fought for the restoration of constitution after Zanu PF threw the supreme law into the dust bin.
“Zanu PF at one time threw the constitution outside through the window. The party had become a club of papers where someone`s wife (Grace Mugabe) would do as she pleased and a club where youths from Mutare would do whatever they wanted. Tsvangirai fought for the restoration of the constitution,” said Matemadanda.