Moses Chokuda — the murdered MDC-T activist who was killed by Midlands provincial governor Jason Machaya’s son Farai Machaya and two other accomplices two years ago and has remained in a Gokwe District Hospital mortuary since then — will finally be buried on Saturday.
For two years, Chokuda has lain in the mortuary with his family refusing to bury him, demanding restitution first.
Justice was finally done last Sunday as Governor Jason Machaya compensated the Chokudas with 20 head of cattle and $12 000, paving the way for Chokuda’s burial.
Machaya promised to pay another 15 head of cattle by next week, to bring the total to the 35 the deceased’s father Tawengwa Chokuda demanded.
Myth had it that Moses was “refusing” to be buried, with locals saying his metal police coffin would become too heavy for the police officers who wanted to take him for burial and at one point blood splashed on a policeman who wanted to forcibly remove the body from the mortuary.
According to Moses’ father, a magistrate who tried the case first and bailed out the culprits developed psychiatric problems, losing his mind for days.
The father further alleges he received reports Moses would often be spotted at the Gana and Machaya homesteads, herding cattle. Come Saturday, the family will finally lay him to rest, but the issue will leave a lasting impression on the community of Gokwe.
When NewsDay visited the Chokuda homestead on Tuesday, Moses’ father was away arranging the arrival of the compensatory cattle while his wife was said to be away.Micah Chokuda, Moses’ brother, was at home and evidently overjoyed, like most of the Chokuda family, at the latest development. They all said the final burial of Moses would bring peace in their lives.
“The chief (Njelele) came here today and all was finalised. We have agreed on a lot of things and Machaya said we should list down what we want for the funeral, including a casket and food. He said he would finance that,” said Tendai Matose, a relative.
Farai and his three accomplices — Abel Maposa and the Gana brothers, Edmore and Bothwell — murdered Moses in March 2009 and were last month sentenced to 18 years in prison each by High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi. Matose said Moses’ body would be taken from the mortuary tomorrow and would lie in state at the family home before burial on Saturday.
Villagers who spoke to NewsDay said the case would send a strong message to would-be perpetrators of political violence.