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Masarira pays tribute to Dzamara

26 Aug 2020 at 23:09hrs | Views
Linda Masarira, leader of the opposition party, LEAD, has paid tribute to human rights activist, Patson Dzamara who succumbed to cancer earlier on today.

"26 August will remain forever remain a sad day for me, I woke up to the news that Patson Dzamara had passed on, and initially, I thought it was one of those fake news stories on social media. I immediately called Gamu, Patson's sister and she was crying and incoherent, so I hung up as tears immediately flooded my eyes as my fingers fumbled to Kuda Musasiwa who then confirmed the heartbreaking news. Kuda was down and angry at Simba Chikanza who had stalled progress of the crowdfunding initiative for Patson's operation. Today he succumbed to cancer.

What this day has taught me is that life is vanity and I am glad that regardless of the political differences we had, we remained friends and family, creating a relationship that surpassed political calling and the division lines that come with it. We always had robust debate on the best way forward for Zimbabwe and we always tolerated each others views, agreeing that what was important was to get Zimbabwe functional again. Last week I called him and he was in pain and agony. We couldn't talk for long as I wanted him to rest. All I have now are memories that i wish to share with you, dear reader.

Patson Dzamara was one man who had sincere love for his family and for Zimbabwe. He was my regular Monday visitor when I was in remand prison in 2016. Even when I came out of remand prison we co-chaired various committees trying to find ways to handle the crisis in Zimbabwe. My brother Patson was always on call for me, even when I was down, he was always there to uplift my spirit and make me laugh at his jokes. I remember last year we were both so broke that we had to share US$5 in October last year when we met at Crowne Plaza. We went through many struggles together and always stood up for each other against all the odds.

One of Patson's outstanding personality trait was his passion for social justice. He was willing to do anything to find his brother Itai Dzamara. He dared and did the impossible to ensure that his message was heard. On the 18tn of April 2016 during the Independence Day celebrations, Patson Dzamara made a surprise appearance with a home made placard written, "INDEPENDENT BUT NOT FREE : WHERE IS MY BROTHER ITAI? That was a show of bravery and his relentless character to ensure justice. He cried several times out of helplessness when he narrated to me how close he was to his brother. Patson was motivated to find out what happened to his brother at all cost even if it meant him losing his own life. Sadly, he has gone without answers to the whereabouts of his beloved brother. His caring nature saw him play the father figure to Nokutenda and Nenyasha, Itai Dzamara's children. He played a pivotal role in comforting Sheffra and making sure that advocacy on finding Itai would not stop.

On 31 May 2016, after realizating that it was time up for ZANU-PF, Lynnette Mudehwe and I left Mutare to go and camp in Africa Unity Square, Harare in protest against Mugabe's regime and poverty. We walked into Africa Unity Square at 18:00, just the two of us and we camped there for the night. We had our first press conference on the 1st of June speaking about our demands and calling everyone who was fed up to join us in occupying Africa Unity Square. My good brother Patson and Dirk Frey were the first to respond and join us. As the week progressed the numbers increased which sparked interest with the state security agents who eventually attacked us soon after midnight on the 5th of June 2016 whilst we were seated around the famous struggle bonfire. We were assaulted and all gadgets we had were taken that night. That night, Patson showed leadership as he managed to calm everyone and assure all of us that one day we were going to conquer.

Like any other grouping of people, there would always be differences and I ended up playing the mediator most of the times urging people not to lose focus on why we were braving the cold nights in the square. Patson and other activists were then arrested on the 7th of June in the evening by the police after some women were running around 22h00 screaming that they had been robbed by the male occupants of the square. The charade was then followed up by the ZRP the following day as they came and rounded up all the activists that had been left in the square. That is when we felt the real strain of the struggle. We were eventually given $1 000 bail and when we were released a week later, we went back to the square. I remember that night we were declaring war on ZANU-PF, soon after the Mayor of Harare Bernard Manyenyeni, France's Ambassador and other dignitaries who had come in solidarity with us had left, we were surrounded by police in riot gear and thoroughly assaulted yet again, with every assault that came our way, the tougher we became; we were hardened and forced to fight back.

We went through a lot in 2016 and Patson was my support pillar in the struggle. He was always there for me. I remember in 2018 when he got angry at me for following Thokozani Khupe. We then had coffee at Sopranos and I shared with him what I felt, what I stood for and how I was not going to be swayed by public opinion. We agreed on several things though he chose to remain in the path he was because that is were the people were.

Beyond activism and politics Patson was alsfiancĂ©ncle to my children.  Even in times of emergency, he never disappointed. I could go on and on writing about the struggles we went through, the happy and sad moments, it would take me a whole week to document.

I pray that my relationship with Patson will help to inspire those who have chosen to be intolerant to diverse views to choose tolerance and love. We are all one people united by our Africaness. Together we can unite for a common cause which is to push for quality healthcare in all public institutions.

Zimbabwe has been robbed of a great mind that was passionate for social justice. Just like any other person, he had his shortcomings, but today I choose to celebrate a life of political activism and love for who considered family and his dedication to the entire Zimbabwean nation.
My heartfelt condolences to Patson's daughter, Gogo naSekuru Dzamara, Gamu Dzamara, Paddy, Sheffra, Patson's fiancée and the whole Dzamara Family. May the good Lord comfort you during this trying time.

Patson my brother, your legacy for the liberation of Zimbabwe will forever live on. Until we meet again, Rest In Power Patson Dzamara," said Masarira.


Source - Lizwelethu Dube
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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