Zvamaida Murwira and Audrey Rundofa
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday assured the family of MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai that Government will fulfil the pledges he made to the politician regarding his welfare. President Mnangagwa said Government will consult with the family to see how the promises he made to the former Prime Minister could be fulfilled.
The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) said this when he visited Mr Tsvangirai’s Highlands residence in Harare to pay his condolences following the MDC-T leader’s death at a South African hospital last Wednesday.
President Mnangagwa was accompanied by his two deputies, General Constantino Chiwenga (Retired) and Kembo Mohadi, Government ministers and senior Government officials.
He said during his visit to Mr Tsvangirai’s residence last month, the politician raised some concerns and requests he wanted addressed and as the Head of State and Government, he had acceded to them and would ensure that they are fulfilled.
“He gave me a list of things he wanted addressed that time and I gave him my word that the issues would be addressed,” said President Mnangagwa.
“I will keep my promise. His requests would be honoured. When we are done with the burial, I will come and talk to my uncles — the Tsvangirai family.
“I will come here and explain what he requested and all that I promised him. I will explain all what I said and promised to each and every request he made. I will also come with my Vice Presidents, they shall be present when I come. I will honour those promises that I made to him.”
President Mnangagwa said the Tsvangirai family were his uncles by totem, since he was a nephew of the “Dziva” clan.
Government, he said, would help in the settlement of the medical bills that accrued.
“Vaenda uku (South Africa) ndakazonzwa futi shoko rouya nemudzimai zvichinzi ah, kuno kwaita mabill akati kuti,” he said. “Ikoko, ah todii? Tinotsigira, ndikaudza Hurumende yangu. System yayo kuti pakurapwa kwaformer Prime Minister wedu isusu seHurumende, tichabatsira, vahanzvadzi munozongouya kwatiri togadzirisa zvamataura seHurumende.”
President Mnangagwa was responding to concerns raised earlier on by a family member, Ms Bryline Chitsunge, that a hospital bill to the tune of R2 million (US$172 000) had accrued.
He said he was constantly briefed about Mr Tsvangirai’s condition and had directed doctors to help in the best way possible to ensure that he recovered.
Government, President Mnangagwa said, would continue assisting the family to ensure a decent burial for Mr Tsvangirai, including provision of an aircraft to ferry the body to his rural home in Buhera today. The burial is set for tomorrow.
President Mnangagwa said he felt duty-bound to bury political differences and unite with the MDC-T family in mourning, since Mr Tsvangirai was not only a political party leader, but a national leader given that he was once a Prime Minister of the country during the inclusive government.
“Zviri kwamuri kana matipa programme kuti vanofamba sei,” said President Mnangagwa. “Tichazobatsira zvekare nendege dzedu kuvatakura kuvasvitsa kumusha kwamuri kuzovachengeta nokuti tinofana kukudzana. Zvematongerwo enyika zvoramba zvichingovapo kana taenda ikoko tomarana asi kana tasvika kune zvemhuri tiri vanhu vamwe. Hatifanire kuzoti tamarana uku, saka kana nepange pane rufu, toramba tichimarana. Kwete.
“Ini semutungamiri kuparty kwangu kana kuHurumende, ndine shoko rekuti ngatibatanei, ngatishandei pamwe chete ngatiwiriranei. Inyaya yekungoti handei tinorima. Mumwe oti, ngatirime nemombe, umwe woti ngatirime nechipani chine six, mumwe woti chine four. Umwe woti tractor ndorakanaka. Umwe woti aiwa dry planting, kwasiyana maitiro asi tese tine chido chokurima kuti tiwane zvokudya asi torima sei, ndonyaya, ndopanopinda zvinhu izvi.”
Earlier on, Mr Tsvangirai’s brother, Collins, gave an account of his brother’s illness. He said when he went to South Africa last month, he had anticipated to stay for a shorter period, but ended up staying for a month hoping that his brother would recover.
He thanked Government for the assistance rendered to the family in repatriating the body. “When my brother died, I overheard some nurses whispering among themselves saying how are these people going to raise money for the repatriation of the body,” said Collins. “Had it not been for Government’s assistance, we would have been in South Africa trying to mobilise resources.”
Collins said his brother had shown signs of improvement on Sunday, three days before his death, only to deteriorate the following day. “During the last day, his temperature had dropped to 34,7 degrees Celsius,” he said. “His heart and kidneys were no longer functioning well.”
Speaking at a memorial service at the Methodist Church in Mabelreign, Harare, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda described Mr Tsvangirai as an icon of democracy. “As a Prime Minister, he brought some breath of fresh air and tolerance and nobody can take that away from him,” he said.