HUNDREDS of people from different churches and political parties yesterday thronged the Large City Hall in Bulawayo for an inter-denominational memorial service for the late former Prime Minister and MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai.
Speaker after speaker spoke glowingly of Mr Tsvangirai describing him as a humble person who respected other people even if they differed politically.
Bulawayo Deputy Mayor and MDC-T Bulawayo provincial chair, Councillor Gift Banda, said Mr Tsvangirai was a selfless leader who was quick to forgive.
“We do not need anyone to tell us about his heroic status as we knew him better. We are talking about a selfless leader who considered others before self. He forgave many people. I was shocked at his death, I had hoped that he would pull through as he was a fighter of note,” he said.
Clr Banda said he had to return to the country on Friday from a trip overseas to come and mourn with the rest of Zimbabwe.
He said Mr Tsvangirai stood for the values of solidarity, justice, equality, freedom, transparency and humble leadership as well as accountability.
“We will honour his wish of alliance building and making the alliance work. We should reach out to everyone to ensure that we fulfil his vision of unity.
He invited me to his house and told me about his wish for MDC reunification. He told me that he regretted whatever happened over the years but he wanted MDC to come together and work as one like in the beginning,” he said.
City Mayor Councillor Martin Moyo described Mr Tsvangirai as an inspiration to his followers.
“He inspired us to seek change, and the key word in all the MDCs is change, we must aspire to seek that change as a party. Change reconciles people and we become a united nation. He was passionate about an alliance and we must fulfil his wishes,” he said.
Former Education Minister Mr David Coltart said Mr Tsvangirai was a consistent man whose character never changed over the years. He said he had a great sense of belonging with the people and the party.
“He was consistent, his character never changed and he had no trace of racism in his blood, he treated everyone the same and never judged people by the colour of their skin or language that you spoke. Morgan was a hero in our hearts,” he said.
Deputy MDC-T Bulawayo chair Ms Dorcas Sibanda said Mr Tsvangirai was a champion of human rights who sacrificed his peace and comfort to make others happy. She said the MCD-T recognised his hero status through the work he did for the betterment of Zimbabweans.
Bulawayo South representative in the National Assembly Mr Eddie Cross said Mr Tsvangirai changed the lives of the rural folk.
He also said the loss of his first wife Susan changed his life as he was a broken man who struggled to come to terms with her death but soldiered on fighting for the improvement of people’s lives.
“Susan was a gatekeeper to Morgan, when she died the light went out in Morgan. But, however, he still pursued his dream of uniting the people of Zimbabwe and alleviating poverty,” he said.
MDC Alliance spokesperson Professor Welshman Ncube who also attended the memorial said the nation must celebrate Mr Tsvangirai’s life as a life well lived as he struggled for the benefit of the masses.
He described him as a man of the people who was empathetic and full of humility. Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions vice-president Mr Juniel Manyere said Mr Tsvangirai was a hero in the labour movement and a champion in human and workers’ rights.
Mr Tsvangirai died at a South African hospital on Wednesday after a long battle with cancer. He will be buried at his rural home in Buhera on Tuesday.
His body arrived in the country from South Africa last night.