MDC| Senator Gladys Dube Gombami, 48, the MDC Bulawayo Women’s Assembly chairperson and Senator for Mabutweni was yesterday laid to rest at West Park Cemetery in Bulawayo where over 7 000 mourners gathered to bid farewell.
Addressing the mourners, President Tsvangirai said the death of Senator Gombami had come as a shock to him and all the party members. “I have lost a key member of my team. This is blow to me and the party. When you are a coach, you have your team in place, a team you have the confidence that it will win matches. But when one member of that team is removed from your midst, it takes time to adjust and regain footing.
“However, we have to continue moving and playing the game, because we could never replace anyone. It will be a betrayal of the objectives if we do not get to the finish line. I hope all of us will be motivated by the life of Hon. Gombami,” said President Tsvangirai.
He described the late Hon Gombami as a woman with values such as forgiveness, the desire for unity and solidarity with others. “Forgiveness is an important facet in politics, because in politics, there is a lot of pushing, shoving and even hatred, but you have to have a forgiving heart. There is need for unity of purpose and giving solidarity to colleagues is important both in happy and sad times. Gombami epitomised these values. Values which we in the MDC pursue,” said President Tsvangirai.
He said Hon. Gombami during her political life had fought for her space in terms of capacity, assertiveness and clarity of objectives. “We are very proud as a party of having produced such a determined activist. She was a straightforward person who never hid her true thoughts. She had the energy and she had the activeness one desires of a leader,” he said.
Hon. Gombami was also the MDC’s Vice chairperson of the Constitutional select Committee (COPAC).
Speaker after speaker sang praises of the late senator whose role as a leader transcended the political divide. She was a member of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe and church members described her as a humble woman whose integrity was unquestionable.
Hon. Lovemore Moyo, the MDC National Chairperson said the death of Hon. Gombami came as a shock to him and the nation as her illness was a short term one. “We have lost a true leader, a heroine, a mother, whose commitment to the struggle for real change is unquestioned,” he said.
Hon. Gorden Moyo, the Bulawayo provincial chairperson said last week he had held a meeting with Hon. Gombami who had highlighted her desire to strengthen the Party in the province.
“That was her main concern. That we needed to bring people back together and strengthen the Party in this province. Even as we bid farewell to her, we have an obligation to honour her wish, which remains a wish of the whole Party and the nation – that we be united, peaceful and love everyone around us,” said Hon Moyo
The MDC Women’s Assembly said they had lost an active member of the Assembly whose objective was to unite people. Hon. Margaret Matienga representing the Assembly said; “We have lost a unifier. We have lost an active sister whose contribution we shall miss greatly. Her energy made it easy to assign duties, her eagerness and love for the party made it even easier for her to lead other women and pursue issues that were of interest to many people. As the Assembly we are with the family, and we mourn with them because we have lost a true leader.”
The President of Chiefs, Fortune Charumbira said politics had both destructive and constructive brains. “But Hon. Gombami was one the constructive brains that Zimbabwe had,” he said.
“There are extremists in politics – those who always want to create conflicts, but this woman was a moderator, who made decisions of national interest rather than party political issues. We worked very well in the select committee, which sometimes was a battlefield of egos, but this woman moderated,” he said
Zanu PF’s Monica Mutsvangwa said she had lost a co – vice chairperson in the Select Committee with whom she had worked with for over two years. “She was a great woman. She did not argue for the sake of arguing, she researched, she had an understanding and she could bring back people on rail once she detected some arguments were meant to derail some discussions. We will forever miss her and it is going to be difficult to soldier on without her because we now understood each other,” she said.
A family representative, Mr Samuel Gombami said Hon. Gombami died of bird flu.
“We were finally given post mortem results and they show that she was taken away by bird flu,” he said. Hon Gombami died after complaining of dizziness. According to a relative, the moment of illness and death took place in less than 20 minutes. She was travelling home to Bulawayo from a funeral in Gokwe.
Over 100 MPs, ministers, six traditional chiefs, church members, senior MDC officials, supporters and neighbours attended the burial.