The MDC Alliance has expressed sorrow over the death of prominent human rights defender and the director of Human Rights Watch for southern Africa division, Dewa Mavhinga.
Mavhinga succumbed to COVID-19 on Saturday in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he was based.
In a statement, this Monday, MDC Alliance Secretary for Diaspora Affairs and Mobilisation, Clifford Hlatywayo described Mavhinga as an icon and champion of freedom, fairness and opportunity in Zimbabwe and the region.
He said the death has robbed the democratic movement of someone who was fully dedicated to the improvement of humanity. Said Hlatywayo:
The democratic movement has been robbed of a great man who gave himself wholeheartedly to the cause of humanity. We have lost a brother, a mentor, leader, fighter and democrat.
A sombre mood has engulfed the nation and its diaspora as we mourn a humble, enthusiastic and consistent comrade.
He stood with the incarcerated, the persecuted and those whose freedoms had been violated.
Despite the risks associated with doing so, he spoke up against oppressors, no matter how large or callous.
He often reached out to those who were on trial on flimsy, political charges and offered warm words of comfort and support.
Mavhinga seemingly had a premonition of his death based on a post on his Facebook page three days before his demise.
In the post, Mavhinga called upon people to pray “because sickness intensifies in the wee hours of the morning, and the evil ones don’t rest until they ensure you don’t see a new dawn.” Said Hlatywayo:
Dewa represented many Zimbabweans in the diaspora who had fled economic hardship and persecution inflicted by Mr Mnangagwa’s illegitimate regime.
At the time of his death, he was actively working to secure the rights of Zimbabweans in South Africa whose Zimbabwe Exemption Permits are set to terminate soon.
Our sincere condolences go out to his family and loved ones.