By Robert Tapfumaneyi
MOURNING MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa Wednesday had a difficult time trying to calm hundreds of agitated followers who booed NCA leader Lovemore Madhuku and some political rivals who had joined him bury his late mother.
Earlier, the opposition leader was also called to rescue MDC-T rival Thokozani Khupe and aides who were being blocked by angry MDC Alliance supporters from attending the burial of Gogo Alice Chamisa.
Khupe was eventually allowed to join the tense proceedings.
Madhuku had to cut his speech to less than a minute after his remarks were drowned in heckles by Chamisa followers who had gathered at a family homestead for a church service held in honour of the late.
“Madhuku has a legal and political history, he is here with us to mourn Gogo Chamisa, some of us hold no grudges,” Chamisa said of a politician and lawyer who helped party rival Khupe win a court challenge against the opposition leader’s legitimacy.
Chamisa urged tolerance.
“Madhuku has his own history. Yes, we disagree politically, but we agree with him on many issues about this country.
“What he has done to come and coming as far as Harare to mourn with us should be respected.
“To appreciate that, I say Prof Madhuku, thank you for coming to mourn my mother, we want citizens that live in peace and love.
“We must build this country after forgiveness.
“You are here to mourn my mother who has departed, I have never seen thousands of villagers gathering here for someone who is not in politics, a vegetable vendor like my late mother.”
Chamisa added, “We came here out of love and we must leave after the burial in love, no one has been forced to come.
“No one should be denied a chance to mourn the dear departed, even if there are issues that hurt you, issues that are happening that you don’t agree with.
“Even if it was my brother, the one I contest in elections, you know him (Mnangagwa), you have to be patient because this is a funeral.
“We are not here to be divided along political lines. This is not an MDC or Zanu PF rally, this is Gogo Chamisa’s funeral.
“This is a funeral and death is a unifier, those who have high blood pressure, let it go lower in the name of Jesus.”
Chamisa appealed with followers to “remember this is a funeral which knows no boundary”.
“Death knows no MDC or Zanu PF member,” he said.
Speaking about his late mother, Chamisa said she toiled to educate her.
“I know our mothers do the same for families, she taught me industry, respect, discipline, integrity and hard work,” he said.
“A hard working, multi-talented woman, a prayer warrior and pillar of faith.”
Gogo Chamisa collapsed and died in her Gutu home on Monday.
Her death saw condolences come from her son’s political rivals in Mnangagwa and Khupe, among some prominent politicians.