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Jerry Gwisai: The iconic life history of a people’s servant

By Tallent Chingovo

Dear Cde Jerry!

On Monday the 17th of March 2014 we woke up to the sad news that the MDC-T organizer for Chibi North district, comrade Jerry Gwisai perished in a tragic accident at Filabusi.

Tallent Chingovo
Tallent Chingovo

This bitter reality strikes the very sensitive chord of the people of Chibi North, including myself, who saw in you a fearless, dedicated cadre whom we shared with an equal measure of the insatiable quest to see our area being liberated from the leadership deficiency exhibited by Zanu PF.

That you departed at a critical stage of our struggle is an indisputable bitter reality that shall incessantly haunt our memories as we strive to navigate our way to a better Zimbabwe and indeed a habitable Chibi North.

Cde, it’s a fact that we are in a double-front war, that has seen our movement continue to lock horns with our common enemy; Zanu PF and the same time there has been a sad resurgence of the 12 October 2005 ghost characterized by backstabbing, factionalism and labelling.

That our movement is also engaged in a war with itself as expressed in a number of our cdes who have of late been willing to sacrifice the people’s project for two pieces of silver is a very scary scenario which will always miss your sober leadership qualities.

As a fierce democrat, astute mobilizer and sober-minded democratic freedom fighter of many battles in Chibi since the inception of MDC in 1999, you taught us the youths to remain vigilant, militant and never to tolerate the evil exchange of our resolve for a better Chibi North with money.

In that same unity you preached and practiced, we have seen our structures in the constituency, sailing intact under the tutelage of our commander cde Benard Chiondegwa.

At a time when our erstwhile cadres are willing to sacrifice our party for money and idolizing and practicing Judas-Ischariotism within the movement, you ironically saw it politically correct to sacrifice your resources and time for a good cause of liberating your people from the post-colonial bondage in which we are shackled by Zanu PF.

The incessant social network onslaught manifesting in shadowy and faceless facebook characters such as ”Radio Chokwadi” and “Harvestliks” on us as a constituency and that of the person of our commander Cde Ben Chiondegwa from both within and without our party bears testimony to the effect that you sowed an incorruptible and unbreakable spirit of unity within the structures of our district and that alone has left our enemy’s camp in disarray.

That has seen Chibi North as a closed market for those of our comrades who are unashamedly engaged in the selling out of their dubious and devilish so called ‘renewal’ agenda.

The untimely departure of your spirit to God inflicted a painful deep cut to us the disciples of your teaching and indeed to our commander Cde Ben Chiondegwa who upon receiving and accepting the sad news on a Black-Monday broke down had this to say:

“The sky has just crumbled upon us…cde Gwisai was a cadre who had taken party programs in the constituency to be his personal challenge. He would do virtually anything assigned to him with efficiency and maximum effectiveness. Using his own resources most of the times…I can tell you that here we have lost a gallant figher…”

If only there were more cadres like you today! If only the revolution could continue to produce more cadres defined by selflessness as opposed to egocentricism and the desire to serve the people as opposed to using the movement as a diving body to ascend to the heights of political careerism.

In our long walk to freedom with you cde Gwisai, from the gullies of Gomba in ward 9, to the dusty long stretches of Badza, ward 4, down the slopes of Zvamapere, ward 10, up to the rocky and narrow roads of Bwanya, ward 3 and across the mighty Musavezi river and its small tributaries lying all over Madamombe in ward 2, I learnt that there is power in calmness and soberness even in the face of adversity and challenges.

Your character was a definition of determination, and there is no doubt that the strides we made together in the constituency over the years will never slip off our radar as we soldier towards a better Chibi North.

I know for a fact comrade Gwisai that the 31 of July Nikuv ghost did not break your spirit, you did not lose hope, instead it watered your resolve to liberate Chibi North thus you never lost focus and you resolutely remain engaged in the trenches until God called you to a better palace up in heaven.

But what I wish to assure you comrade is you don’t owe anyone of us your fellow cadres in this struggle, like the biblical Paul, you fought a good fight and in a little while the living shall all be celebrating the fruits of your selfless character.

We are very certain that you would today have been mobilizing the comrades to remain vigilant even in the face of the election rigging of monumental magnitude that we witnessed on the 31st of July 2013.

Today we mourn you but don’t mourn the shame of ’31 July’ disguised as an election because doing so is like equating the devil with the heavenly angel, mourning the “Black July 31’ charade is a direct empowerment of evil and that we cannot afford to do.

Indeed you and us cde Gwisai know very well that the ’31 of July’ farce only prolonged and delayed our struggle against a dictatorship but never killed our collective resolve for change in Chibi North.

I still remember very well cde, how we navigated our way in the gravels of Utsinda, ward 7, with your small-body-but-big-engine Ford Bantum. Unfortunately it is in the same vehicle that you met your fate on Sunday evening.

Yes I remember cde Gwisai that the rocky terrains of Chibi North were too harsh for your low base and small Ford bake but you opted to sacrifice it for the good cause of the party. That you lost your giant Nissan Patrol in the field of war is a clear testimony that today we have lost an irreplaceable pillar of our struggle in the constituency.

I run short of proper terms to define your character in relation to your contribution to our movement but what we can all confirm is that you were an extraordinary man.

This time, same month last year, you had virtually abandoned your home, galvanizing support and mobilizing your troops in preparation for the harmonized elections which were meant to take place on 31 July of the same year.

Unfortunately, the very same day that you and your troops had prepared for, turned out to be a farce because evil superseded right, your people were denied their right to choose councilor Koke Shuro of ward 13, your home ward to council, they were denied the right to vote your MP cde Ben Chiondegwa to parliament and indeed your president Dr. Morgan Richard Tsvangirai to state house.

However in all the temporary loss you suffered, your hope was never dashed…you remained steadfast in your march towards a better Chibi North. I was there in ward 13 with my friend in struggle councilor Koke Shuro and together with him we witnessed the massive rigging.

One of the deepest scars on the visage of our democracy is the reality that a soldier like you cde Gwisai, who toiled and labored to ensure that the people’s thirst for change is quenched, had his life taken away in a tragic road accident at such a defining moment of our struggle against black capitalism, dictatorship and brutality.

However, Chibi north shall take solace and comfort in your teachings, legacy and an iconic life history of a true servant of the people.

On Saturday the 22nd of March, your fellow cdes, friends and relatives shall bid you farewell to you one of their own as they live you in your solitary departure lounge, waiting for the second coming of the Son of Man; and in all this somber and sorrowful moment, we shall never be regarded as orphans or poor but we pluck a leaf of pride that at least we once fought side by side with a gallant warrior like you.

Go well the astute organizer, man of peace! Go well our Leader! May your soul rest in peace and continue to guide us through as we continue to toil for a better Chibi North.

Victory is certain! Victoria Aseta!

Your Son in Struggle.

Tallent Chingovo is a member of the MDC-T Youth Assembly from Masvingo Province in Chibi North District.