Zanu (PF) blocks funeral tributes

Zanu (PF) activists from Uzumba caused a stir during the burial of an MDC-T activist, Reason Kupfuya, when they reportedly hijacked funeral proceedings and disrupted the graveside speeches.

Kupfuya, who was the MDC-T chair for ward 9, died at Harare Hospital on October 17 and was buried two days later.

Family sources told The Zimbabwean that the deceased was a victim of the 2008 political violence that rocked Uzumba. His house had been burnt and he sustained several injuries during torture. Kupfuya, they said, had never fully recovered from the injuries and has been receiving medication at the Counselling Services Unit ever since.

“MDC-T officials in the area paid for all the costs since Kupfuya was a dedicated member, but what surprised us is that as soon as his body arrived at his rural home, Zanu (PF) members told people gathered that they were taking over,” said a source.

“They said that Kupfuya had defected to their party before the July 31 elections and ordered that there would be no graveside speeches, adding that only close family members would be allowed to view Kupfuya’s body.”

Sources identified the Zanu (PF) officials as Garikai Mashambanhaka and the party’s district chair, Mafungasei Usiku.

The move to block the tributes by the Zanu (PF) members was, he said, a calculated ploy meant to block speakers from revealing how Zanu (PF) was responsible for unleashing the violence in 2008 that eventually killed Kupfuya.

MDC-T losing parliamentary candidate for Uzumba, Peckson Kazingizi, confirmed the hijacking of Kupfuya’s funeral.

“When we went to the burial, Mashambanhaka told us to move away to pave and that there would be no ceremony if we stayed at the funeral. We left the place because we wanted to avoid ugly scenes at the funeral,” said Kazingizi.

“What is puzzling is that they never contributed anything towards the funeral expenses yet they claimed that the deceased was their member.”

When contacted for comment, Mashambanhaka denied the allegations. “Everyone attended the funeral and no one was barred and the speeches that you are talking about were made by the family members,” said Mashambanhaka.

Last month Uzumba MP Simbaneuta Mudarikwa made an appeal for peace in the area in an interview with The Zimbabwean. However, MDC-T members in the area have accused Mudarikwa of not practising what he preaches.

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