By Leopold Munhende
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has developed an uncanny ability to hijack funerals for political expediency, the youthful politician’s arch-nemesis and MDC-T president Thokozani Khupe said last week.
Angered by the heckling and boos she was subjected to by Chamisa’s supporters when she arrived at the City Sports Centre in Harare to join late MDC Glen View South MP, Vimbai Tsvangirai-Java, Khupe let rip at Chamisa.
“It is so sad that we have people who have developed a culture of coming to funerals to hijack people…instead of being there to mourn and celebrate lives of those who have departed.
“People now have a tendency of coming to hijack funerals for political expediency, I would like to say to Zimbabweans that this must stop,” Khupe said.
The former deputy prime minister was almost killed last year by rampaging youths linked to Chamisa at the burial of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Buhera last year.
The thatched hut in which she and then party secretary general Douglas Mwonzora had sought refuge was almost torched only for the two to be saved by the rains.
Chamisa and Khupe, who had served as Tsvangirai’s deputy for 11 years, fell out in the volatile period that followed the death of the MDC founding president.
Chamisa, who along with Elias Mudzuri, had been appointed as co-vice presidents of the party in 2016, moved quickly within hours of Tsvangirai’s death to seize power leaving Khupe complaining to no avail.
Khupe was immediately stampeded out of the party with a small group of other leaders but retained the party name after a legal battle.
Following this week’s incident, Khupe warned lessons must be drawn to avoid similar occurrences.
“I hope today we have learnt a good lesson…those leaders who have members who behave like that must pull up their socks because it is a reflection on their part that they clearly do not have control over their members,” said Khupe.
“I would like to call on these leaders to discipline their members, let us stop using other people’s funerals for political expediency.”
Chamisa also caused a stir at national hero Oliver Mutukudzi’s funeral in January before a similar incident in Ntabazinduna as liberation war stalwart Dumiso Dabengwa was being laid to rest last month.
While Chamisa took a conciliatory tone describing Khupe as his senior, the favour was not returned.
His supporters have accused Khupe of “selling out to Zanu PF” but she has argued she was more senior and should have been allowed to take over after Tsvangirai’s death.