Tension is rising with fears violence could break out at the burial of the late Retired Lieutenant Colonel Gabriel Moyo who will be buried today at the Nkulumane Heroes’ Acre.
Zanu PF and the Defence ministry’s Department of War Veterans’ Affairs issued a funeral programme sidelining his party, Zapu, and his fellow Zipra ex-combatants while the latter were at the same time preparing to take the body of their late commander from a funeral parlour to his family home without consultation with Zanu PF.
Sources in the Zapu camp said the party was not taking the snub lying down and Moyo’s comrades-in-arms, the Zipra ex-combatants, were by yesterday afternoon preparing to collect his body from the Kings and Queens Funeral Parlour to take it to his home in Luveve where it was expected to lie in state.
Zanu PF sources refused to give details of the burial arrangements for the late retired lieutenant colonel.
However, a family spokesperson, Campion Moyo, confirmed the late former soldier would be buried at the provincial heroes’ acre in Nkulumane.
“That is all I can confirm. I don’t have information on who will officiate at the funeral,” he said.
Zapu spokesperson Methuseli Moyo said Zapu was aware of machinations to sideline his party from the funeral proceedings.
“They have deleted us from a programme that they have issued. We don’t know what they are trying to achieve by that because there is no need to sideline anyone from the funeral proceedings.
Even Zanu PF itself should be given a chance if they have a speech, the MDC should be given a chance if they have a speech.
“He was our member and we are going to be there in full force. We appeal to our colleagues in Zanu PF not to use the death of our member to try and undermine other people. We are going to be there in full force and will maintain our peace as long as others maintain their peace,” he said.
A source within the Zipra veterans said by late yesterday afternoon they were still waiting for a response from the governor’s office on their application for Moyo’s hero status.
“They have not responded. In the morning they told us that they would get back to us in three hours’ time but up to now, they have not responded. We will be going back to them this evening to find out,” the source said.
Since Moyo’s death on January 1, there has been jostling between Zapu and Zanu PF for control of his funeral.
Moyo was an active member of Zapu while his wife, Anna, is an administrator at the Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial offices.
Two programmes, one drawn up by the Zipra veterans which was sent to the governor of Bulawayo Metropolitan and another prepared by the Department of War Veterans Affairs and bearing a Zanu PF stamp, had been produced last evening.
The Zipra veterans programme without time details did not include any political parties in the graveside speeches.
It included the Moyo family, the Ngwabi family, which is the wife’s family, the residents association, the local councillor and a representative of the Moyo family is expected to give a vote of thanks.
The programme prepared by the Department of War Veterans Affairs included a church service, that would start at 8 am, where speakers from the burial society, residents, the Ngwabi family and the Moyo family are expected to give speeches.
The Zipra veterans and Zapu, that seem to have been included in the initial programme, had been deleted with a black marker.
According to the programme, at the Nkulumane Heroes Acre speakers from the War veterans, the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), Zanu PF, together with the governor, are scheduled to give speeches.