Dear Reader,

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Death is a villainous coward. It visited our family in the early hours of June 1, 2024, robbing us of a beloved family man, a treasure of Morgan Tsvangirai (Save), a skilled craftsman, a gentle giant, a loyal friend to many, a political negotiator, a pillar of the democratic struggle, a humorous organizer, a humble cadre, and a freedom fighter. Death’s strike leaves us powerless, humbling everyone, even the most eminent. Only Jesus Christ conquered death; for us, mere mortals, we are destined to return to dust. This harsh reality hit us today, June 4, 2024, as Honourable Murisi Zwizwai, an opposition politician, was laid to rest at Glen Forest Cemetery in Harare. He was just 54 years old. God’s will is absolute, with no appeal.

In this somber hour, I hear whispers and shrills trying to malign Zwizwai, even in his death. Remember, Reader, we are only on this earth temporarily. There’s no need to disparage the dead. After all, none of us is without sin; we are only fortunate to be alive. So, run your race and wish the dead well. This is how we create a better world and prepare for eternity.

Our African ubuntu discourages callousness over a dead body, especially due to political differences, whether real or perceived. Zwizwai is gone and cannot answer you; he is with his God. It seems that the freedom fighters who experienced it all still love and honor him. This is why Advocate Nelson Chamisa, Tendai Biti, Sesel Zvidzai, Chalton Hwende, Lynette Karenyi-Kore, and many others attended his funeral to honor his heroic contributions to the struggle for democratic change in Zimbabwe.

Reader, Zwizwai was a true and loyal friend to Tsvangirai until the very end, a man of service and sacrifice. Few people knew of Tsvangirai’s loneliness after losing power in 2013 and as cancer took its toll. I often visited Tsvangirai at his residence at 49 Kew Drive, Highlands, Harare, and found him alone in his garden. At times, Tsvangirai lacked airtime or fuel to travel and mobilize the political base, relying on Zwizwai, who even lent him his car to ensure the mobilization for democratic change continued. Zwizwai also negotiated with the government to pay Tsvangirai’s pension as a former Prime Minister to cover his medical bills. He was not only a loyal friend but a brilliant negotiator, always calm and effective.


Reader, Zwizwai remained loyal to Save even in the final days. We attended many closed-door meetings together. I once saw him at an MDC Alliance rally in Mutare on January 29, 2018, wearing a white beard that he said ‘belonged to Tsvangirai,’ a symbol of his loyalty to Save, who was battling cancer in the hospital. Zwizwai was trusted by Tsvangirai and Chamisa with sensitive political assignments requiring valor and exceptional negotiating skills, often risking his life.

Recently, I contacted several cadres from different factions of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), and they unanimously agreed that Zwizwai was a comrade with a good heart. Numerous obituaries from far and wide echoed this sentiment, a true hallmark of a comrade. In his last days, Zwizwai did not receive as much as he gave, but his ultimate reward may be with the Lord. However, many like Chalton Hwende stood by him until the end.

Zwizwai was a gifted organizer who used political humor to galvanize the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)’s base for real change. He animated crowds during MDC election campaigns, earning the nickname “Huchi” (Honey) with his slogans: ‘Todhla huchi na Tsvangirai’ (Honey time with Tsvangirai) and ‘Todhla huchi na Chamisa’ (Honey time with Chamisa). His famous chant, “Mugabe hambaaaaah, Tsvangirai Yaaah!” resonated with the masses, and his humorous, engaging presence made a lasting impact, as seen at the inaugural MDC Alliance rally on August 5, 2017.

Reader, Zwizwai demonstrated both craft competency and craft literacy. He served as a Member of Parliament for Harare Central from 2003 to 2020 and from 2022 to 2023. In 2024, he was appointed Senator by the Prof Welshman Ncube-led CCC formation, but death claimed him before he could demonstrate his capabilities. During the inclusive government (2009-2013), he exhibited his skills as Deputy Minister of Information, pushing for media reforms, and as Deputy Minister of Mines, advocating for the demilitarization of diamond mining fields. Even George Charamba, spokesperson for President Emmerson Mnangagwa, acknowledged Zwizwai’s excellence.

The opposition lost an exemplary political competitor who accepted defeat gracefully. When Zwizwai lost the CCC primary election for Harare Central in 2023, he had complaints but graciously accepted the result, wishing the winner, Hon Lovemore Jimu, well. This goodwill was evident as Jimu attended Zwizwai’s funeral. Even Hon. Gladys Hlatywayo described him as “an extremely good human being.”

Zwizwai was an extraordinary man of love, generosity, and hospitality. His floral business in Kensington, Harare, known as ‘kumaruva,’ became a haven for comrades from all walks of life. Figures like Chalton Hwende, Maureen Kademaunga, Happymore Chidziva, and others gathered there to discuss political issues, sharing meals and drinks prepared by Zwizwai. This space became a crucial hub for strategizing, especially after Tsvangirai’s demise in 2018. Zwizwai’s first question upon meeting someone was often, ‘Dr mauya nehuchi ere?’ (Dr, have you brought fine whisky?), followed by laughter. He made ‘maruva’ a home for many comrades.

Chinua Achebe once said, ‘A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving…We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.’ For Mudhara Zwizwai, it was always good for comrades to come together. Now that he is gone, I wonder who will provide such a home for comrades.

Go well, Mudhara Huchi. Go well, freedom fighter. We are made of flesh, and your time of departure was at hand. Take pride in having fought the good fight, finished your race, and kept your faith. Reader, we tremble as we continue our race, knowing we too shall return to dust, but Zwizwai returns with a legacy.

By Dr Phillan Zamchiya