By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
TWO feuding Zanu PF aspiring Chinhoyi ward 2 councillors have taken their political fight to funerals where last Sunday dramatic scenes unfolded during the funeral of a party member, forcing the corpse’s burial with two coffins.
The funeral of Stella Makaki, of Gadzema suburb, was turned into a battleground after perennial campaigner Stuart Yasini engaged a funeral services provider to give the late Zanu PF member a decent burial, much to the chagrin of his rival Ruth Chikukwa.
The burly Chikukwa, popularly known as Boko Haram in Chinhoyi, was a niece to the now-deceased Makaki.
Yasini, Chikukwa and the late Stella’s father Muriravanhu Makaki are set to square off in the impending Zanu PF primary elections to choose a candidate to run for councillor.
The seat fell vacant following the recall of MDC Alliance’s Patricia Chibaya, last December.
According to sources, Yasini heeded a distress call from the Makaki family, which was unable to meet the costs involved in giving Stella a befitting send-off.
He is said to have offered to bear the costs of the funeral, paying a local funeral parlour US$330 for its services, which included a coffin, and hearse. He also allegedly bought food and beverages for the mourners.
However, trouble reportedly started when Yasini’s competitor, Chikukwa, arrived with a gang of hangers-on in tow and started denigrating the quality of the coffin, describing it as a ‘fish’ coffin.
She then mobilised her team and proceeded to another funeral parlour in Chinhoyi town where they bought a ‘better’ coffin, before returning to the funeral.
On arrival, Chikukwa allegedly ordered the removal of the corpse from the coffin bought by Yasini into the ‘better’ one she had paid for.
She, and her gang, immediately destroyed the coffin bought by Yasini, before taking the coffin’s debris to the cemetery where they threw broken pieces into the grave.
The development has left the Gadzema community in shock.
Sources who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com Wednesday said what transpired at the funeral was taboo.
Yasini said he was shocked and embarrassed by the incident, which Chikukwa used to decampaign him ahead of Zanu PF primaries expected anytime soon following a call for curriculum vitae for vetting by the Zanu PF commissariat department.
“I was helping the family after being approached by relatives of the deceased, who included their sons-in-law. I was born and bred in Gadzema and see everyone as my brother or sister, and in this particular case Stella was a sister and l felt obliged to help,” Yasini told NewZimbabwe.com Thursday.
He added: “To decampaign me, Chikukwa used the opportunity to soil my name and reputation as someone who imposed them on a family. I have a record of helping out during funerals that occur in ward 2, its known and Chikukwa just displayed her arrogance and violent character when people were grieving.”
When contacted for comment Thursday, Chikukwa insisted she was related to the now-deceased Stella and deserved to be part of the decision-makers at the event.
“The late Stella was daughter to my biological mother’s brother. I am a relative, whether he likes it or not and we were supposed to be consulted over materials bought at the funeral, including the coffin.
“Yasini connived, behind our back, with supposed sons-in-law and went to a parlour where they bought a cheap coffin which the family condemned,” said Chikukwa.
She denied ever destroying the coffin bought by Yasini, insisting the parlour personnel broke it, as was tradition a coffin in which a corpse had been put cannot be returned to the company.
“I was nowhere near the scene when the coffin was destroyed. I heard it was the parlour guys who destroyed it and threw the pieces into the grave. So, yes, in essence, Stella was buried with two coffins,” said the aspiring ward 2 councillor.
By-elections are also scheduled to be held in five other wards in Chinhoyi where political tempers have flared chiefly among Zanu PF members.
The recalled MDC Alliance councillors will represent the main opposition party.