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Esaph Mdlongwa: Obituary from the General Secretary of the Zimbabwe Communist Party

16 Oct 2020 at 10:39hrs | Views
I have learnt with a heavy heart the passing away of Comrade Esaph Mdlongwa, the founding Organising Secretary of the Movement for Democratic Change, a trade unionist and a former Member of Parliament for Luveve constituency.

I first met Esaph Mdlongwa in 1999 in Beitbridge shortly after the National Working Peoples Convention. He had driven from Bulawayo with the late Gibson Sibanda to meet us in Beitbridge to discuss the implementation of the resolutions of the National Working Peoples Convention. I had driven with Austin Moyo and Engineer Danisa Zulu from Johannesburg.

My first impression of Esaph  Mdlongwa was his humility and his commitment to the struggle of the working people in Zimbabwe. Our meeting on that Saturday in Beitbridge marked the beginning of our long journey in the struggle for a fair and just Zimbabwe. He spent the first few months of 1999 travelling the length and breadth of Zimbabwe reporting back to the structures of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and also to peasant communities on why the National Working Peoples Convention had resolved on the formation of a labour backed mass movement.

Unfortunately, as has become the norm in Zimbabwe, every workers' struggle gets hijacked by reactionary forces. The working class in Zimbabwe established the liberation movement in the 1950s as a vehicle to challenge the colonial state following years of struggle at the workplace against the exploitative employers.

Railway workers were the first in our country to unionise themselves, white railway workers striking successfully in 1912 and black railway workers doing the same in 1945. The President of the Railway African Workers' Union, Joshua M.N. Nkomo, was to become the first leader of our liberation movement.

Mdlongwa would later lead organised railway workers into the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change.

Mdlongwa dies at a time when workers in Zimbabwe are under sustained attack from the parasitic bourgeoisie while at the same time, the movement he helped to establish has become a playground for ZANU(PF) factional battles. He dies at a time when no one has been charged over the deaths of over 13 residents of Luveve, the constituency he represented in parliament, due to contaminated water provided by a corrupt and clueless Bulawayo City Council.

The MDC , divided into a variety of formations, today finds itself either advancing the interests of the deposed G40 or being a willing tool in the hands of Team Lacoste through the recall of elected representatives across the country. The complete takeover of the MDC by reactionary forces has turned it into a neo-liberal outfit. The hijacking of the MDC of course did not start today, it can be traced back to its inaugural congress when it elected the reactionary Eddie Cross as its economic spokesperson.

As we honour this great organiser and a trade unionist, we must build unity between the working class and peasants in rejecting the neo-liberal agenda as advanced by the Emmerson Mnangagwa administration now on a mission to reverse the land reform agenda to please its imperialist masters.

The time has come for the working class, including the unemployed and the informal sector, peasants, youth and women through their various organisations to come together in a second National Working Peoples Convention to adopt a new Charter aimed at Completing the Liberation of Zimbabwe.

As we mourn the passing  Mdlongwa, we send our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and comrades. We commit ourselves in continuing with the struggle of the working class and peasants.

Ngqabutho Nicholas Mabhena.

General Secretary
Zimbabwe Communist Party.

Source - Ngqabutho Mabhena
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