The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)’s first organising secretary and former MP for Pumula-Luveve Esaph Mdlongwa died on Wednesday at the age of 70.
He passed on in Bulawayo’s at Mater Dei hospital after losing a battle with diabetes, but family sources said he succumbed to Covid-19 after being admitted earlier this week.
MDC vice president Prof Welshman Ncube told ZimLive;
“He was a great storyteller of a democratic nationalist trade unionist cum politician who was a mentor and a father figure to those of us whom he took under his protective wing.
“Esaph was firm, principled, compassionate, kind and trusting almost to a fault. It’s so so sad he departs at a time of great strife and suffering in our motherland having dedicated his entire life to the struggles of the working class, the poor and downtrodden,” he said.
MDC Treasurer General, David Coltart said Mdlongwa was a principled man and a loyal member of the party.
“I am very sorry to hear about the passing away of MDC stalwart Esaph Mdlongwa – he was a principled, loyal member of the MDC and will be sorely missed. May his dear soul Rest In Peace.
After working in mines in South Africa early in his youth, where he met his first wife Emily Molefi, with whom he had his first child, the music legend Oscar ‘Oskido’ Mdlongwa, he returned home and worked for many years at the National Railways of Zimbabwe, where he became very active as a trade unionist.
Mdlongwa was among most of the MDC top leadership from the trade unions and students drawn when the opposition was formed in 1999.
But only four of its so-called ‘Top 10’ – Morgan Tsvangirai (president), Gibson Sibanda (vice president), Ncube (secretary general), Gift Chimanikire (deputy SG), Mdlongwa (organising secretary), Isaac Matongo (chairman), Fletcher Dulini Ncube (treasurer general), Lucia Matibenga (women’s assembly), Learnmore Jongwe (spokesman) and Nelson Chamisa (youth assembly) are still alive. Ncube, Chamisa, Matibenga and Chimanikire are the survivors.