Low turnout at Mugabe rural funeral

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Former President Robert Mugabe’s rural funeral held on Monday at Zvimba was characterised by a low turnout as many local businesses continued to operate unfazed by the late leader’s memorial proceedings.

By Marshal Bwanya

The low key funeral turnout was exacerbated by the Mugabe family and state’s unresolved dispute over the late leader’s funeral programme and burial site.

This unresolved impasse between the state and the family perpetuated Mnangagwa’s administration to subtly withdraw support as it felt it could no longer continue to be held ransom by Mugabe’s prolonged 30 days funeral programme.

At least some several hundreds of mourners attended the low key rural funeral service which was politicised by ZANU PF supporters in attendance wearing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regalia.

An act which angered some local staunch Mugabe supporters who boycotted the event as they felt the late leader’s legacy was being undermined and downplayed by the state.

“It is quite unfortunate how our late leader’s funeral event has been high jacked into a political rally bent on consolidating President Mnangagwa’s image instead of honouring our late leader Robert Mugabe.

“The state should have handed out new t-shirts, caps and regalia that bear Mugabe’s image instead of Mnangagwa,” said one mourner who preferred anonymity.

A local Zvimba vendor who identified herself Mai Murombedzi said she continued with her daily business duties saying she refused to be used as pawn in a political wrangle that was of no benefit to her.

“I refused to partake this political rally disguised as a funeral service that is not beneficial to me while my business collapses.

“At least when Mugabe was still around you know you attend such an event and receive benefits and goodies, not this current administration that just pops ups at the 11th hour with regalia that does not even pay respect to our late leader,” she said.

Late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s rural funeral last year attracted some 800 thousand mourners who came to pay their last respects to the opposition leader.