Tekere, best known for his outspokenness died peacefully early on Tuesday with his family by his side. Although he was expelled from ZANU PF in 1988 Tekere still enjoyed material and moral support from many in the party.
In his autobiography, A lifetime of struggle, published four years ago, Tekere claims he played a leading role in paving the way for Mugabe’s rise to the leadership of ZANU PF in 1974. On the 5th April 1975 the two men, with the help of the late Chief Rekayi Tangwena, crossed the flooded Gairezi river in Nyanga north into Mozambique to lead the fight for Zimbabwe’s liberation from white minority rule. At independence Tekere served as a Minister of Manpower Planning in Mugabe’s first cabinet.
Shortly after his appointment, in August 1980 Tekere, accompanied by his bodyguards, visited a farm just outside Harare and shot and killed white farm manager Gerald Adams in cold blood and for no apparent reason.
After his romance with ZANU PF, the veteran nationalist formed the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) in 1989. A year later, Tekere stood against Mugabe in the presidential election of 1990, a contest he lost. After ZUM’s collapse in 1994, Tekere retired from active politics but still maintained close contacts with the country’s political developments.
Edgar Zivanai Tekere, one of the founding members the Zimbabwe Nation Union (Zanu) and one of the luminaries of Zimbabwe’s war of liberation has died.
ZANU PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said Tekere was known as a ‘dedicated freedom fighter and selfless cadre whose contribution to the liberation was unquestionable’. On the social media site Facebook, many Zimbabweans are writing highly of the nationalist saying ‘he was a rare breed of politician, admired by friend and foe alike and a tireless advocate for the people of his beloved country’.
‘No one who knew Edgar Tekere will ever forget the passion and enthusiasm he had to see his people liberated. Tekere was a great family man and his care and love for his troubled country as he battled illness was humbling and inspiring,’ are some of the posts on Facebook.