By Alois Vinga
THERE was drama Saturday night in Chitungwiza when anti-riot police details besieged the funeral of the late popular Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) cleric Tabeth Chiweshe and ordered mourners disperse.
This was after the law enforcement members had received information that MDC Alliance President Nelson Chamisa would also attend the funeral wake held at the Mount Carmel Assembly in Chitungwiza.
Chamisa is also a pastor at the AFM.
Sources at the church told NewZimbabwe.com Sunday, the disruption of the funeral wake for the late Chiweshe was meant to block Chamisa from attending the funeral and pay his last respects.
“The hearse ferrying the deceased and the funeral convoy were driving to AFM in Zimbabwe Mount Carmel Assembly in Chitungwiza from a funeral parlour in Harare and a number of bystanders were waiting by the roadside to pay their last respects to the revered woman of cloth,” one church said.
“At the church, we were, however, shocked to see baton stick wielding anti-riot police officers disembarking from a truck and ordering mourners to immediately go indoors. No explanation was given to justify these actions.”
The church members said sensing insecure, the Chiweshe family decided to cancel the church service in Chitungwiza and headed for Bluffhill in Harare where one of the deceased’s sons resides.
“Despite all these arrangements, the police details pursued us all the way from Chitungwiza to Bluffhill and when we arrived there, they stood at the gate and monitored everyone entering the residence. We strongly suspect the move was aimed at frustrating Chamisa’s visit,” the source said.
However, contacted for comment, the Zimbabwe Republic Police national spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi dismissed allegations as “mere suspicions”.
“The issue is that the deceased passed away in Concession but the family members decided to hold the funeral in Chitungwiza where over 800 mourners converged to pay their last respects. Such bumper crowds are in violation of Covid-19 regulations and this attracted the police’s attention,” he said.
“After the confrontation by police officers, the family members decided to change the venue and headed for Bluffhill where another bumper crowd turned up. This left the police with no option except to enforce compliance.”
Nyathi implored members of the public to comply with Covid-19 regulations to avoid the spread of the pandemic as the country braces to contain another possible third wave.