Justice Benjamin Paradza, President of ZUNDE, knew Kudzayi Mbudzi before, during and after the struggle. As freedom fighters, they trained together at Tembwe. Paradza and others knew Kudzayi by his war name, Doctor No.
Just before the judge was forced into exile, he met with Mbudzi at Flamboyant Hotel in Masvingo where they shared a drink and some lighter moments. He later dropped off Mbudzi at his residence. This was the last time they met but continued to exchange ideas and views up to his death. Justice Paradza remembers Kudzayi Mbudzi as a very courageous cadre and genuine fighter for democracy, an uncompromising and no nonsense young cadre who lived up to his character until he took his last breath.
I first met Kudzayi Mbudzi at a time he had just lost the contest as independent mayoral candidate for Masvingo. It was during this time that he started speaking openly and critically against ZANU PF which he had been a member of for many years. I must admit that our first encounter wasnâ€™t easy. His â€œconfrontingâ€ character made me a bit uncomfortable. Along the way, we had some unfriendly exchange of words. He had said something critical of MDC, particularly Morgan Tsvangirai which I strongly disagreed with. Eventually, we managed to share a drink.
As years went by, I got to know Kudzayi Mbudzi more and more. I learnt a few things about him then. One of them was that he was a very temperamental person who would not take lightly to losing an argument. He was also the kind of person who was not afraid to speak his mind at any given time. Just last week, we shared a few ideas of mutual interest. Little did we know this was going to be the last time.
Despite having different political persuasions, Kudzayi Mbudzi reached out to many people. We agreed, we disagreed but ultimately, we found each other. He ended up respecting our views, especially our consistency. We respected his, too.
When Zimbabwe People Frist was just starting with mai Mujuru largely in the background, we made several contacts with Kudzayi Mbudzi when he was trying to lure us into joining People Frist. We advised him that while ZUNDE supported any initiative aimed at removing ZANU PF from power, we would not abandon our project. Rather, we made it clear that we would be happy to explore synergies with other players, including ZimPF. This, we did and we continue to do.
When the ZimPF publicity portfolio was in its formative stages, Mbudzi contacted us many times for advice which we shared willingly. After realising that we meant what we said, Kudzayi developed a lot of respect for and trust in us. He even connected us to Joice Mujuru whose humility struck many in our team.
Some people fight for democracy throughput their lives. Kudzayi Mbudzi did just that. He had his conviction which he sadly but characteristically takes to the grave. If we were to say anything to him at this dark hour, it would be that â€œWe will not give up on your lifetime fight for a democratic, peaceful and prosperous Zimbabweâ€.
Rest in peace courageous and genuine fighter!
Moses Chamboko â€“ Interim Secretary General, Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE), www.zunde.org; firstname.lastname@example.orgPost published in: Featured