By Julius Mutyambizi-Dewa
I am from Chitungwiza myself and have been an opposition activist way before the formation of the MDC. I can tell you one thing for sure, if this Elizabeth Macheka is the same daughter of former mayor Macheka, and if she grew up in his St Mary's household, with the same mannerisms then guaranteed the PM is marrying a good woman from a cultured family.
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I am not going to defend former Mayor Macheka's shooting and killing of the protester but it must be recalled that whilst every death is not good the context in which that happened must be fully appreciated.
First the victims were not members of the MDC because MDC was not yet formed. MDC was formed in 1999.
Second it was during a time of public upheaval and Macheka had just won a very difficult election in which he had been forced against his own will to contest his friend Fidelis George Mhashu. Needless to say ZANU PF bussed supporters from Mbare and Mufakose who caused a lot of upheaval in Chitungwiza. I campaigned for Fidelis George Mhashu and we matched that threat of violence squarely, something that I am still proud of.
The people who were shot went into the Macheka Bar in that tense atmosphere and even though I am sure it was never their intention, it is reasonable to believe that Macheka perceived them to be an immediate threat to his life and that of his family members there-present.
A friend of my father dating back to the liberation struggle Macheka is a humble man, he is untrained and nowhere near being even a tough civilian despite his role in the liberation struggle. When I went to see him for the first time as a mature person, he was then the MP for St Mary's Constituency. He sent his daughter to open the gate and control the guard dog. I saw this beautiful, young girl who was a little younger than me.
What was striking in that girl was how mannered and humbled she appeared, even with that popularity and status. You could see a complete human being. She directed me to the family's lounge. That girl is Elizabeth Macheka.
MP Macheka was allowing a 19 years old total stranger into his house without even questioning where I had come from and my agenda. That was in the early 1990s when public officers were really untouchable. I shared tea with him as I exchanged my ideas. I was not ZANU PF and it’s only when he had enquired of my name that he first realised I was his liberation war friend's son.
The deaths of people are not good especially violent deaths but I do not doubt the sincerity of the Macheka family. I also don't know what Elizabeth has become, because as we grow up we all find challenges in life that turn us into things that we never intended to be.
If someone who grew up with me hears that I have two children from two different women I doubt if they will believe it. So I will neither be a judge nor condemn Elizabeth for whatever but all I can say is if PM Tsvangirai is marrying into the Macheka family, and if they still hold the same ethos that I have known, then he surely is marrying into a good family. I have castigated the PM before but I think he needs support as he tries to move on. We castigated him when he was appearing to be having a string of affairs but he has said he has done his homework and has taken steps towards marriage, I believe we need to encourage him to arrive and that noble feat.
He recently said at a rally that he now feels comfortable appearing in public because he has now found a woman to marry, I think this time he is right and that our criticism of him is totally uncalled for. He is a widower, marrying a widow and I am failing to see how that could attract our unfair criticism.
Julius Mutyambizi-Dewa is a Zimbabwean lawyer based in Britain. He start opposition politics long before the formation of the MDC.