Friday, 20 November 2009 16:37
He is the former Secretary General of the powerful Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and is the founding chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), an organisation that advocates for a new constitution for Zimbabwe.Tsvangirai became branch chairman of the Associated Mine Workers Union and was later elected into the executive of the National Mine Workers Union, and in 1988 he became the Secretary-General of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the umbrella trade union organization in the country.Morgan led the ZCTU to break its alliance with the ruling party. As his power and that of the movement grew, his relationship with the Government deteriorated. He has also been a victim of premeditated and government-inspired harassment and violence.
There have been four assassination attempts, which include the famous attempt in 1997, where suspected secret police (Central Intelligence Organisation CIO) burst into his tenth story office and tried to throw him out of the window.In 1999 he founded and organized the Movement for Democratic Change, an opposition party opposed to misrule, official corruption and dictatorship in the country.Tsvangirai the presidential candidate for the March 2002 presidential election provoked widespread allegations of open rigging through violence and intimidation, media biasness, and the manipulation of the voter's roll, and massive irregularities were recorded and the case is still to be heard in the supreme court more than five years after that stolen election.
He has been a victim of government inspired harassment, in 2000 he was arrested and charged with treason; this charge was later dismissed. In 2004, Tsvangirai was acquitted of treason for an alleged plot to assassinate the leader of the illegitimate regime in the run-up to the 2002 presidential elections. George Bizos, a South African human rights lawyer who was part of the team that defended Nelson Mandela, headed Tsvangirai's defence team.In 2001 Morgan Tsvangirai was awarded the prestigious 2001 Solidar Silver Rose Award. The award was for outstanding achievement by an individual or organisation in the activities of civil society and in bringing about a fairer and more just society.
At a crucial period for world stability, the Solidar Silver Rose Award winners “show the positive change that can be brought about by determined individuals and organisations”, the citation read.
In 2001 Tsvangirai was arrested under the Law and Order Maintanance Act (ironically the law used by the colonial regime to arrest freedom fighters) after the government alleged that he had threatened the president of the country whilst addressing more than 40,000 supporters at a rally in Harare. The courts dismissed the charges and he was acquitted.
In 2003 Morgan was arrested on a Friday afternoon shortly after giving a press conference ,the government alleged he had incited violence. In the press conference he had said:
"From Monday, June 2, up to today June 6, Mugabe was not in charge of this country. He was busy marshalling his forces of repression against the sovereign will of the people of Zimbabwe. However, even in the context of the brutalities inflicted upon them, the people's spirit of resistance was not broken. The sound of gunfire will never silence their demand for change and freedom."
On March 11, 2007 a day after his 55th birthday, Tsvangirai was arrested on his way to a prayer rally in the Harare township of Highfield. He was heavily tortured by police, resulting in deep gashes on his head and a badly swollen eye. The event garnered an international outcry and was considered particularly brutal and extreme. He was tortured by a crack commando unit based at the army’s Cranborne Barracks on March 12, 2007 after being arrested and held at Machipisa Police Station in the Highfield suburb of Harare.
A Zimbabwean freelance cameraman, Edward Chikombo smuggled out of the country, television pictures of the badly injured opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai after he was beaten. He was later abducted from his home in the Glenview township outside Harare. His body was later discovered near the village of Darwendale, 80 kilometres west of the capital, Harare. This has been part of a pattern of abductions and punishment beatings that has become a terrifying nightly ritual in Zimbabwe, where scores of opposition activists and their relatives have been attacked by government sanctioned gangs using unmarked cars and police-issued weapons.
According to Hon Tendai Biti, the MDC’s Secretary General who was arrested along with him, he suffered a cracked skull and "must have passed out at least three times." Tsvangirai was subsequently admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at a local hospital. Tsvangirai suffered a fractured skull and received blood transfusions for internal bleeding.
Tsvangirai was released, but on March 28, Zimbabwean police stormed the MDC national headquarters and once again arrested him, hours before he was to speak with the media about recent political violence in the country.
Despite all the harassment and great personal risk involved Morgan remains committed to the democratic struggle against dictatorship and tyranny in Zimbabwe until basic freedom and justice is achieved by the people of Zimbabwe.
After the 29 march 2008 harmonised election on the 11th of January 2009 Morgan Tsvangirai was inaugurated as the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe after months of negotiations with an insincere Mugabe.
On the 6th of March 2009 Amai Susan Nyaradzo Tsvangirai passed away in a road accident on her way to her Husband’s rural home in Buhera. It was a great loss to the people of Zimbabwe and the President and his family. The whole of Zimbabwe rallied behind the President and continue to identify him as the man of the people.