By Paidashe Mandivengerei
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu PF party cannot lay claim to owning former President Robert Mugabe because the former guerrilla movement expelled him, MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa has said.
Addressing journalists at a press conference in Harare Tuesday, Chamisa said Mugabe’s death is not a party event and Zanu PF has no power to decide who attends the late president’s funeral.
Mugabe died Friday aged 95 in Singapore where he was receiving treatment for undisclosed ailments.
“This is not an opportunity to settle scores but a national event; not a party event or a State event. It’s for all Zimbabweans.
“Zanu PF cannot claim Mr Mugabe because Mugabe was nolonger a member of Zanu PF; he was expelled,” said Chamisa.
Chamisa suggested Mugabe was close to joining the MDC giving credence to reports that the former Zanu PF leader funded his campaign ahead of elections last year and ahead of the party’s congress this year.
“He (Mugabe) had not yet fully joined the MDC but he had supported and endorsed the MDC particularly my candidature as a viable alternative for the country,” the MDC leader said.
In November 2017, Mugabe was toppled from power in a military coup that ended his rule which spanned over three decades.
He was also sacked by Zanu PF and replaced with Mnangagwa.
Along with then First Lady Grace, they were expelled from the ruling party for inciting divisions in Zanu PF while pushing for a “bedroom coup”.
That was euphemism for what was seen as Mugabe’s bid to position his wife for both party and country takeover.
Chamisa added that while Mugabe had made it public that he would vote for the MDC in the 2018 presidential elections, he was still not a full member of the MDC and no party regalia should be worn at the funeral proceedings.
On the eve of the presidential elections in 2018, a bitter Mugabe threw his weight behind Chamisa arguing he could not vote for his tormentors in Zanu PF.
Chamisa has caused a stir at two other high profile funerals this year alone.
At the late national hero and musician, Oliver Mtukudzi’s burial in Madziva in January this year, the MDC leader was blocked by security details after he arrived during speeches.
The youthful politician was to repeat the feat at former Zapu intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa’s funeral wake.
Chamisa threatened to “react accordingly” if State security were to try and stop him from attending Mugabe’s funeral.
“We don’t want any political party to be monopolising something that is national. Clearly that will send signals and we will respond accordingly. We are the leading party. In any event, Harare where Mugabe last resided, is under the MDC. Mr Mnangagwa resided in MDC territory; they are in our backyards,” said Chamisa.
The MDC is already divided over its response to Mugabe’s death with the youth assembly condemning the former Zanu PF strongman while senior party leaders like Chamisa want a more conciliatory tone to it.