The death of Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai came as a shock to the nation and the continent. Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was for a long time a major voice against former president Robert Mugabe. Tsvangirai was a colossal political figure, and a charismatic leader. Save, as Tsvangirai was affectionately known was undoudtedly the most effective opposition leader in Zimbabwe since independence.
Between 2009 and 2013, he was made Prime Minister, but this came after years battling Mugabe’s brutal regime, having survived numerous beating and assault. Tsvangirai founded the MDC in 1999 and became the main opposition voice to Mugabe’s corrupt regime and inept leadership.
To say that a dark day has descended in Zimbabwe is not an understatement, as many have come on social media to express their condolences to a man that stood up to power. Tsvangirai, many say, at least lived to see Mugabe vacate power.
The EFF sends revolutionary condolences on the passing of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
May his soul rest in power! pic.twitter.com/tvsMGIzwoY
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) February 14, 2018
The 65-year-old opposition leader was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016. He was in and out of South African hospital where he was receiving treatment. Constantly at loggerheads with Mugabe, Tsvangirai was arrested on numerous occasions for plotting to kill Mugabe, inciting violence and civil disobedience. The treason case was however later thrown out of court following years of legal battle.
The role Tsvangirai played as the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) in opposing taxes led to an assassination attempt. When opposition supporters were attacked during the build up to the run-off election, Tsvangirai refused to compete, leading to a negotiated Government of National Unity.
The conversations on opposition politics in Zimbabwe can never be complete without the name Morgan Tsvangirai. Condolences on social media have been pouring in from around the globe.
As you are aware that our MDC T President, Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai has not been feeling well for some time, it is sad for me to announce that we have lost our icon and fighter for democracy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, the party and the nation at this hour.
— Elias Mudzuri (@EngMudzuri) February 14, 2018
Morgan Tsvangirai represented courage and determination in the face of oppression, and gave ordinary Zimbabweans faith to believe in the future. He was one of the bravest political leaders of his time and will be sadly missed.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 14, 2018
Morgan Tsvangirai, A doyen of democracy and justice in our time. Thank you for making it possible for people like me to find the courage to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, HATICHADA, HATICHATYA. Zimbabwe owes you a great debt. REST IN POWER mukuru #RIPMorganTsvangirai hambani kahle pic.twitter.com/wGICnsZGdZ
— #ThisFlag Evan Mawarire (@PastorEvanLive) February 14, 2018
I have learnt of the passing of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai with deep sorrow. Morgan dared to dream of democracy, freedom and justice for his country and his people despite the firm hands of dictatorship that held sway. pic.twitter.com/zQJpCLc8pt
— Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) February 15, 2018
Morgan Tsvangirai deserves to be declared a national hero – that’s if the national shrine is dedicated to those who contributed to building the great nation that is Zimbabwe, those who believed that our best days are ahead of us & those who were prepared to fight for the dream.
— Fadzayi Mahere🇿🇼 (@advocatemahere) February 15, 2018
The EU and its Member States are deeply saddened by the passing of Morgan Tsvangirai. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues in these difficult times. Read our full statement. pic.twitter.com/UNERDl9kfh
— EU Delegation to Zimbabwe 🇪🇺 (@euinzim) February 15, 2018