Affable Vimbai Tsvangirai Java, the daughter of political icon Morgan Tsvangirai breathed her last at 2pm on Monday at a Harare hospital in Harare. She died from injuries sustained in a horrific head-on collision that happened on May 14, 2019 some 5km from Kwekwe along Bulawayo – Harare Highway.
Her late mother’s close friend, Philda Muringani was driving the Toyota Mark X that had four occupants in it. All of them except Muringani have died.
Muringani was a close friend of the late Susan Tsvangirai (Vimbai’s mother) as they both attended the Methodist Church in Mabelreign together. After the death of Susan, Muringani who was a pillar in both Susan’s political and religious life became close to Vimbai, in fact they became prayer partners.
Just as Muringani played a role in Susan’s political life, she became one in Vimbai’s as the latter vied for a political office.
On Friday May 10 Vimbai persuaded Muringani to accompany her to an MDC Alliance campaign meeting in Bulawayo. Muringani initially told Vimbai of her inability to go because of other commitments but after persuasion the trip was eventually put together.
In Bulawayo, Vimbai, Muringani, and Tafadzwa Mhundwa who is Vimbai’s uncle and active party member were staying at Muringani’s brother’s place. On the fateful day, the three bade farewell to Muringani’s brother who urged them to sleep over and avoid travelling at night but they had to go.
Before they left Paul Rukanda, from MDC Glenview begged for a lift from the three but Vimbai was reluctant to go with him as she planned to talk political strategies on the way and therefore wanted as much as possible to avoid people outside her campaign team.
After some haggling between Vimbai and Muringani they reluctantly allowed Rukanda into their car and he was the first to die when the accident happened.
They left Bulawayo at 6pm and at around 9pm they passed Kwekwe and 5km from the City there are some treacherous curves.
“Suddenly I saw this car just close to us. Everyone screamed to warn me of the impending danger and I swerved to the left to avoid it but just as I did the driver of the oncoming car also swerved to the same side. I pulled back on the road since the lane was now clear but instinctively the next driver also did the same and he hit our car on the left side forcing it to overturn onto the shoulders of the right hand side of the road,” said Muringani.
The first person to arrive at the scene was the MDC Alliance Women Assembly chairperson Paurina Mpariwa who was also coming from the same meeting. Muringani whose seat belt had locked called out Mpariwa’s driver Shacky to rush and help them. Shaky had to use a knife to cut the belt and Muringani was pulled out of the wreck.
The next to be pulled out was Vimbai who complained of serious back-ache, a painful shoulder and headache. Rukanda was the next to be pulled out but it was realised that he was already dead. Rukanda was sitting behind Mhundwa, Vimbai was sitting behind the driver and Mhundwa was sitting in the front passenger’s seat.
Efforts to extricate Mhundwa from the wreckage were futile and for a whole hour he was trapped there crying out for help before the Kwekwe Fire Brigade arrived. Muringani and Vimbai were immediately whisked by Mpariwa to Kwekwe General Hospital, leaving Mhundwa in the wreck.
Mhundwa died on arrival at the hospital and medical attendants said he died because of the excruciating pain that he went through.
Vimbai was later transferred to Harare in a stable condition but later developed a blood clot that led to a cardiac arrest almost a month into her admission.
“I hear that the driver we were involved in an accident with was a soldier in Cowadry Park and he died three days after the accident”, said Muringani.
Vimbai was buried yesterday, Thursday June 13 at Glen Forest Cemetery.