THE body of the late MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai arrives in the country from South Africa today ahead of his burial in Buhera on Monday.
Mr Tsvangirai (65) died at a South African hospital on Wednesday after a long battle with cancer of the colon.
MDC-T acting president Mr Nelson Chamisa yesterday said the body would lie in state at the Tsvangirai family residence in Harare before being taken to the Robert Mugabe Square for a public farewell.
“Our president’s body will arrive from South Africa at 7PM on Saturday (today) on board an Air Zimbabwe plane. The body will lie in state at the family home, Number 49 Kew Drive in Highlands, Harare, before it is taken to Robert Mugabe Square for a public farewell.
“Thereafter, the body will be taken to Humanikwa Village in Buhera where president Tsvangirai will be buried next to his late first wife Susan Tsvangirai on Monday,” said Mr Chamisa in a statement.
In Bulawayo, an interdenominational memorial service for the late Mr Tsvangirai will be held at the Large City Hall at 8AM today.
Yesterday, the Minister of Home Affairs and Culture, Dr Obert Mpofu, said the honour of a State assisted funeral accorded to Mr Tsvangirai is not different from what the Government confers to national heroes.
“It is the Government of Zimbabwe that has recognised that he deserves to be treated in a national manner. There is really not much difference in terms of assistance that will be given to him and those that go to the National Heroes Acre,” said Dr Mpofu.
As condolence messages continued to pour in yesterday, newly-elected South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was deeply saddened by Mr Tsvangirai’s death.
“On behalf of the Government and people of South Africa, I would like to convey my heartfelt condolences to Mr Tsvangirai’s family, the Government and people of Zimbabwe on this sad loss. I want to assure the people of Zimbabwe and the Tsvangirai family of the solidarity and compassion of the people of South Africa,” he said.
“Mr Tsvangirai will be remembered for his profound role in the Zimbabwean politics and his prominence which saw him serve as Prime Minister from 2009 to 2013 in the Government of National Unity, during which period the current Constitution of Zimbabwe was developed.”
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who brokered the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in 2009 which ushered in the inclusive Government that ran until 2013, also paid tribute to the MDC-T leader.
“First thing we need to convey our own condolences to Mrs Tsvangirai, his children and the rest of the Tsvangirai family as well as his colleagues in the MDC party. For them he really tried his best to represent the interests of members of MDC and to try and advance a particular agenda of what they thought was necessary in terms of the transformation of Zimbabwe. It’s a serious loss from that point of view…” said Mr Mbeki.
“I was very pleased when I saw President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he visited Morgan in Harare, it was a good gesture on the part of President Mnangagwa, indicating that readiness to work together as Zimbabweans.”
Zanu-PF Secretary for Information and Publicity, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, said Mr Tsvangirai played an important role in the drafting of the country’s Constitution.
“During the tenure of the inclusive Government, Mr Tsvangirai made considerable efforts towards the attainment of the goal of peace.
“The party’s deepest thoughts are with the Tsvangirai family and grieves with them as they mourn their beloved father,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.
The National People’s Party (NPP) spokesperson, Mr Jeffryson Chitando, said Mr Tsvangirai leaves a legacy of commitment to defend human rights, selflessness, hard work, patriotism, love and humility.
“Tsvangirai will ever be remembered for his dedication, patriotism and sacrifice for this country. As NPP we have lost a friend, comrade and partner in the struggle for a democratic Zimbabwe,” he said.
The Joshua Nkomo National Foundation and the Zapu party also conveyed their condolences to the Tsvangirai family.