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Dr Magaisa saw own death coming: ‘I’m suffering… My life is not in my hands’

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ZIMBABWEANS across the world have joined the Magaisa family in mourning the death of the country’s top academic Dr Alex Magaisa, who passed on at a public hospital in the UK Sunday morning.

Dr Magaisa, who was 46, suffered cardiac arrest and has been in the hospital since late afternoon Friday, according to family sources.

News of Magaisa’s death was shared by fellow academic and SAPES Trust director Dr Ibbo Mandaza, who said the death was a ‘great loss’ to Zimbabwe’s intellectual community.

“Just received the sad news that Alex Magaisa is no more; a great loss to Zimbabwe’s intellectual community, to the struggle for a better and democratic Zimbabwe,” said Dr Mandaza.

While many mourners have described the late law lecturer as a great political analyst and advisor, Magaisa himself revealed in 2018 that his life was no longer in his hands as his health was failing.

Magaisa, who between 2009 and 2013 was advisor in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office, said his heart condition worsened in 2013 and he had come to accept that his life would be cut short. Magaisa said this after some of his followers on Twitter chided him for wishing speedy recovery to then Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Sibusiso Busi (SB) Moyo, who also had cardiac illness. Dr Moyo succumbed to a Covid-19 infection in 2020.

Said Magaisa in a 2018 tweet:

  1. When I wrote my earlier message, I realised a lot who follow me did not understand. For many, I am a strong & healthy chap. I’m not. I try hard but it’s not easy. (In) 2013., when the situation was serious I spoke to Mdhara Morgan and got help. I’m a member of the suffering union.
  2. When I wish SB Moyo well, it has nothing to do with politics but everything to do with humanity. For the past 5 years I have lived with a chronic illness, believing in the right thing. Yet for many, Magaisa is a great man. I’m not. It’s not in my hands. I fight like all else.
  3. What makes us different from all other is that we do the right thing. I grew up with simple villagers. Good people. We looked after each other. That is how it should be. I may get along, like all is beautiful. It is not. Let us look out for each other, whatever out differences.

Meanwhile, Magaisa’s death has come as a huge shock to the opposition family in Zimbabwe, with whom he shared solidarity and a vision of a Zimbabwe free of corruption, maladministration and politcal intolerance.

Main opposition movement Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa expressed pain that Magaisa never lived to see a better Zimbabwe he fought so hard for.

“It’s a huge blow. He has died without seeing his heart’s desire: a new great Zimbabwe,” said Chamisa on Sunday.

Professor Arthur Mutambara, who served as deputy Prime Minister between 2009 and 2013, said: “Magaisa was a distinguished public intellectual, a prolific writer and thought leader. His contributions to the Zimbabwean discourse will always be cherished.”

Professor Jonathan Moyo, an exiled former Cabinet Minsiter and also former Zanu-PF strategist, said Dr Magaisa’s death was tragic loss to Zimbabwe as a nation.

“He was a fierce interlocutor, prolific writer and an indefatigable contributor to the quest for a better Zimbabwe. His tragic death leaves an unfillable void in the country’s public discourse,” Professor Moyo wrote on Twitter.

Dr Magaisa taught law at the University of Kent in southeast London. Back in Zimbabwe, he kept his weekly Big Saturday Read (BSR) blogs attracted a hug following as he wrote on the nation’s political economy.

However, with his health rapidly deteriorating beginning of this year, Dr Magaisa failed multiple times to stick to his weekly blog schedule. He last published two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, the Magaisa family has issued a statement regarding funeral arrangements.

“We the families of Alex and Shamiso Magaisa regret to announce the passing on to glory of our husband, father, brother, uncle and nephew – Alex Tawanda Magaisa. We will miss him sorely and may God grant his soul repose.

“Alex was undergoing treatment and tests when he suffered a cardiac arrest at 8am on Sunday 5th June.

“We thank you all for your messages of love and support and now kindly plead for time and privacy as we mourn our loved one.

“Other developments will be announced in due course,” said family spokesperson Gift Mawire. ■

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