Kenyan leaders offered their condolences to the people of Zimbabwe over the death of opposition leader and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who lost his battle with cancer on Wednesday.
In a tweet, President Uhuru Kenyatta said, “Kenya condoles with the people of Zimbabwe, we pray that God comforts and strengthens the family and friends of the late Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai.”
Nasa leader Raila Odinga mourned Dr Tsvangirai as a champion, a distinguished political leader.
Mr Odinga, said the opposition chief, who died on Wednesday after a battle with cancer, will be remembered for his fight for the Second Liberation of Zimbabwe from the dictatorship imposed by Robert Mugabe.
Both Mr Odinga and Dr Tsvangirai were close allies and long-time friends who have been hailed as the champions of democracy and good governance in their countries.
“Morgan dared to dream of democracy, freedom and justice for his country and his people despite the firm hands of dictatorship that held sway.
Mr Odinga said that by standing for the ideals of democracy and good governance, Dr Tsvangirai “inspired a generation, planted hope in down-trodden Zimbabweans that change was possible and loosened Robert Mugabe’s suffocating hold on the people and the nation”.
His death, Mr Odinga said, leaves a gap in a country that still needs strong and vigilant forces of change to return to the path of democracy and freedom.
“Until his death Dr Tsvangirai remained a source of inspiration to a generation of leaders across the Continent for his courage and determination in the face of monumental odds,” said the Orange party leader.
Dr Tsvangirai, a teetotalling nonsmoker from Zimbabwe’s majority Shona community, was the face of Zimbabwe’s downtrodden opposition for decades.
The 65-year old, often times was jailed and beaten by pro-regime thugs in his pursuits to liberate the country from the decades of autocratic rule by former president Robert Mugabe and his acolytes.
He was recognised on several occasions for his commitment to political change, and was widely thought to have been shortlisted for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
His critics, however, argued that his commitment to contesting elections and a willingness to share power allowed Mugabe to cling to office.