Zimbabwe’s former prime minister and main opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was laid to rest in his boyhood Humanikwa village in rural Buhera today.
Tsvangirai succumbed to colon cancer at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Johannesburg on February 14.
The burial brought to an end six days of mourning. His body was interred at around 3pm.
Addressing mourners before burial, the MDC-T leader’s long-time friend and leader of Orange Democratic Movement of Kenya, Raila Odinga, described Tsvangirai as a proper hero.
“In this coffin, here lies a great African, a Zimbabwean and a hero who should have been accorded a proper hero’s burial in Zimbabwe,” he said.
South African labour activist Moletse Mbeki also attended the burial and described Tsvangirai as a “great leader, a great friend and a man who has done what he could do for Africa”.
Mbeki said change was needed in Zimbabwe as in South Africa.
South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance leader, Musi Maimane, who is also chairman of opposition parties in Africa, also sent an emissary with a condolence message.
Acting MDC-T President Nelson Chamisa said Tsvangirai’s death had revived the powerful spirit of fighting for change and pledged to unite the party in honour of fallen leader.
“Tsvangirai brought about life in the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe. We will be inclusive and those who do not want unity will be called to order,” he said.
“Zimbabwe and Africa have lost one of the flag bearers of the struggle of democracy.”
As Tsvangirai struggled with the cancer of the colon, according to Chamisa, he wished to unite all democratic forces who are committed to dismantling Zanu PF’s grip on power, hence the idea of the MDC Alliance.
MDC Alliance spokesperson Welshman Ncube said the alliance formed part of Tsvangirai’s legacy.
He said in January, Tsvangirai called him together with another alliance signatory Tendai Biti and implored them to bury their differences.
“He asked us if we were prepared to leave a legacy of disunity and urged us to unite once again for the sake of the struggle,” Ncube said.
“He was aware of the battle he was faced with (fighting cancer) and certain that he will not available to campaign with us. As such, he gave us Chamisa to lead his vision.”
Despite threats of raìns, Zimbabweans from all sections of life lined the open space, which stretched from the Tsvangirai residence.
Celebrated musician Oliver Mtukudzi paid tribute to Tsvangirai and sang one stanza of his song Neria.
The burial was attended by all the ambassadors from the European Union, Britain and America.
On the road outside, MDC T supporters, clad in T-shirts emblazoned with Tsvangirai’s face, stood in small groups discussing the tragedy that had befallen them.
Buses, trucks, private and top-of-the-range vehicles stretched over 4km to Tsvangirai’s residence.