SUPPORTERS of the MDC led by Nelson Chamisa have vowed to protest at the funeral of former Zanu-PF leader Robert Mugabe, as divisions emerge in the opposition party over how to handle the funeral of the late former President of Zimbabwe.
While Chamisa himself and his deputy, Tendai Biti, have suggested it would be uncultured to pour scorn on the late leader, some prominent members of the MDC youth assembly have said “Chamisa, Biti and all other party leaders should just have kept their mouths shut” because “Mugabe killed many of our colleagues.”
“This is not funny at all. Mugabe killed many of our colleagues and never got to account for it. What is it our leaders got from Mugabe that they see him as a hero today?” said a youth assembly official who was instrumental in Chamisa’s rise to the throne in February 2018.
The youth said the MDC movement is angered and was shocked by statements made by Chamisa on Al-Jazeera news network, where he praised the Mugabe legacy.
Chamisa, reacting to Mugabe’s death, said Mugabe’s contribution to the country’s education and health was very much appreciated.
Said Chamisa: “We acknowledge the contribution made to the country in the liberation of our country and also his contributions in the early days when he contributed to education and health.
“But we also acknowledge the reality that there were also negatives in terms of the pains that the people had to go through on account of the omissions and commissions in government.
“What is gratifying to us is that at the end of his reign he voted for change, he voted for myself, in fact Mr Mugabe is one of the few people who did not hide their vote,” said Chamisa.
Biti said although he was “tortured by Mugabe” in 2008, he felt indebted to the former guerilla leader and was ‘grateful” that Mugabe fought for the liberation of Zimbabwe.
“Today, we must mourn Robert Mugabe and pass condolences to his wife and children, and thank him for leading the battle against colonialism and for the emancipation of Zimbabwe leading to its independence in 1980,” said Biti.
The MDC youths are not impressed by the statements taken by their leaders.
“We’re shocked but not surprised that our leader Nelson Chamisa is praising Mugabe too much,” said another MDC youth official, requesting anonymity for fear of reprisals. “We have a very weak leadership that seems captured by the very system they tell us we are fighting.
“If Ian Smith had died during the war of liberation, do you think that Zanla and Zipra were going to pause the war to mourn Smith? We are going nowhere with these clueless opposition leaders. No wonder we have been in opposition for two decades and continue playing second fiddle to Zanu-PF during by-elections.”
Meanwhile, the body of the former President Mugabe is expected at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport tomorrow afternoon.
It will be received by President Mnangagwa, traditional Chiefs from Zvimba, as well as senior members of the Mugabe and Marufu families.
A funeral service will be held at the National Sports Stadium on Saturday. Burial is expected Sunday at the National Heroes’ Acre, although family and government seem not yet agreeable on the burial place. —– Zimbabwe Voice