Burial of slain MDC-T activist Moses Chokuda was almost scuttled after some Zanu PF hardliners within the family attempted to chuck out mourners sporting MDC-T regalia at the family home at Chipere village, just outside Gokwe centre on Saturday.
The funeral was held amid a heavy police presence.
Amos and Clever Chokuda, both brothers of the diseased, and their cousin John Tembo instructed mourners in MDC-T regalia to either leave the homestead or remove their party clothing.
They alleged Zanu PF Midlands provincial chairperson and governor Jason Machaya, Farai Machaya’s father, who in the company of three others murdered Moses had refused to enter the homestead if those donning the MDC-T party regalia were allowed to stay.
This angered the deceased’s father, Tavengwa, resulting in a standoff within the family, with other members insisting the T-shirts should be removed while Tavengwa stood his ground.
“The person who killed my son cannot come here and give me rules in my home. People’s clothes cannot stop me from burying my son. If you want to insist on chasing away the mourners then I will also go,” said Tavengwa.
Attempts by Chief Misheck Njelele to persuade MDC-T Midlands North chairman Costin Muguti to instruct his fellow party members to remove the regalia failed, with Muguti insisting that removing the T-shirts would be handing victory to those who murdered Moses.
“It appears like the chief wanted to please Moses’ murderers, while hurting those of us — his friends — who have been tormented by the death of our cadre and we resisted that,” said Muguti.
It took the intervention of village headman Kally Mashizha to prevail over both parties saying the burial should go on regardless of whether Machaya liked having the MDC-T regalia around or not.
About 1 300 mourners, including high-profile MDC-T and Zanu PF leaders, converged at the Chokuda homestead to give the slain MDC-T activist a final send-off after nearly three years at Gokwe General Hospital mortuary as the two families contested the burial.
MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti, national vice-chairman Morgan Komichi, Kwekwe mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa, Machaya and several traditional leaders from Gokwe attended the burial.
Both Biti and Machaya urged mourners to co-exist regardless of political affiliation.