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Rest Well Mr Tsvangirai, Life Is Nobody's Friend Anyway

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By Tanonoka Joseph Whande (Sunday Standard)

Life is cruel; it is not user friendly.

We spend our lives preparing for it after our parents spend more than half their youthful days preparing us to face life yet life laughs in their faces and ours as it takes our loved ones away from us for no reason; as it makes us homeless; as it makes us collateral damage in someone else’s war.

Life shows us no mercy even when we do our own thing, yet it pokes its irritating nose into our lives.

Life is a spoiled domain which is jealous of those and that which lives.

Life is cruel for killing a doctor on the day of his graduation; life is unkind for denying little innocent babies a chance to see the sunshine and experience life itself.

Life hates itself so much that it extinguishes itself at will but makes us pay for its recklessness.

Life is a dictator because it lives our lives for us without our permission and refuses to compromise on time, comfort and the length of time itself regardless of how hard we work to have “a decent life”.

Life denies us what it owes us. Life is a beast that exists not to extol life but to destroy it.

The only thing life knows is death and, because it has met its match, it sacrifices us instead of fighting for its own existence.

Tell me, therefore, dear friends, why you toil throughout your penniless existence, eating from trash bins and sleeping in culverts but dropping dead the night you win a lottery jackpot?

We go to church to pray for our wellbeing, both of flesh and spirit, then drop dead in the pew as we walk those few steps to receive Communion.

Yes, I am mighty upset and insulted because life has, once again, dealt us cards from the bottom of the deck.

The death of Morgan Tsvangirai has made us, Zimbabweans, political orphans again at a time we were beginning to have hope; and hope is something life does not like.

Although less comparable, Morgan Tsvangirai is among some of life’s luminaries who have been shortchanged by life - from Mahatma Gandhi,  Our Lord Jesus, Martin Luther King, and many others who died after spending lifetimes of climbing only to have their lives extinguished out of them just before reaching the famed mountain top to which we all aspire.

Tsvangirai worked hard for a belief and both Zimbabweans and the world took notice.

He believed in a democratic society; he really wanted Zimbabwe to be free and for it to move away from the dictatorship that it had turned into.

Tsvangirai did not just talk but led from the forefront. He was humiliated, arrested and assaulted many times but he kept coming back because he knew that the thing he was looking for was hidden and behind mires of thorns, snakes and bobby-traps. And he was negotiating his way through.

For whatever its worthy, the most enduring image I have of Mr. Tsvangirai is when he was humiliated when being brought to court, unwashed, swollen face, unkempt, with half his head shaven with blobs of dried blood on his head, wearing a dirty shirt and surrounded by Mugabe’s overzealous police/prison officers.

Murderers have a more dignified appearance at court hearings.

He is gone now. Tsvangirai is gone and, given the shameful acrimony consuming his Movement For Democratic Change, Zimbabwe has to start the fight for democracy from scratch.

Tsvangirai set a standard that is going to be difficult for any politician to match.

Why did Tsvangirai have to depart at this time? At least, he lived long enough to see Robert Mugabe leave office.

But again, for the first time in Zimbabwe’s history, we are going to have an election in which Mugabe is absent from the ballot but still alive.

In addition, the forthcoming elections are also going to be without Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

I don’t care for Mugabe but just look at what we have in the queue for president.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, my home boy and current president who has never won an election in his own right in his entire life, losing elections at every turn. Mugabe had to create a constituency for Mnangagwa, a small place which he later “bequeathed” to his wife who, just last week, relinquished the parliamentary seat so that “she concentrates on being First Lady”.

At this time, forgive me if I do not name those who are preparing to run against Mnangagwa.

How can I? At last count, just last week, there were 80 political parties in Zimbabwe with a couple of so-called “coalitions” or “alliances” that try to bring several political parties under several umbrellas (Sounds familiar to Botswana, I am sure).

I am in love with those who dare. I am intrigued by those who carry eggs in their pockets and still spoil for a wrestling match with absolute certainty that they will get home with their eggs and boil them for a meal.

While I appreciate WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and such media, I am hoping that they will not take away anything from us nor aid us in going astray.

Zimbabweans must focus and focus sharply. We are in danger of losing the script when we have contested leadership.

I am saddened by the way the top people and the three vice presidents from Mr. Tsvangirai’s party publicly fought to inherit his chair while he lay dying and shamefully continue as I write while waiting for his remains to be brought home from South Africa for burial.

The three vice presidents, Mr Nelson Chamisa, Ms Thokozani Khupe and Mr Elias Mudzuri, could at least stop the jostling or stop talking about what their party constitution says about who ascends to the top post until Mr. Tsvangirai is laid to rest.

But no! His casket, his corpse is a podium to pontificate about oneself at the expense of a dearly departed.

Mr Tsvangirai did his best. He showed the way. Whether we choose to take it or not is up to us. However, he is gone now. We are, once again, political orphans and are looking for a leader to match Mr. Tsvangirai.

I do believe there are many Zimbabweans who would like to thank Botswana, particularly President Ian Khama, for looking beyond SADC and the African Union and giving some support to Mr. Tsvangirai because he represented an opposing view to tyranny that Zimbabweans were suffering under.

Rest well, Mr. Tsvangirai. And thank you very much for everything you did for our country. I shall remember into eternity that time when you asked Mr. Lovemore Moyo to come and fetch me to join your esteemed guests at Phakalane Estates, just outside Gaborone.

You told me to keep writing, even if I was not in agreement with you.

I never stopped, Sir. I won’t. And thank you.

 

Rest well, Mr. Tsvangirai; the world could not ignore your presence; the world will not ignore your absence.

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