BY RICHARD MUPONDE
The huge number of opposition MDC Alliance legislators at the burial of Zanu PF deputy chief whip and Mangwe legislator, Obedingwa Mguni was reciprocal to the spirit of Ubuntu exhibited by the ruling Zanu PF party two weeks ago when the opposition buried its own legislator, the late Vimbai Tsvangirai-Java, a senior party official has said.
The Glen View legislator succumbed to injuries sustained in a road accident on her way from conducting party business two months ago. She was buried a fortnight ago at Glen Forest cemetery, a burial that was attended by Zanu PF bigwigs.
Mguni was buried at his plush rural homestead at Macingwane in Empandeni, Bulilima West constituency on Saturday.
Hundreds of people from all walks of life and the political divide thronged the rather quiet village to pay their last respects to a man, who they all described as a unifier.
MDC Alliance legislators outnumbered their ruling party counterparts raising murmurs that the opposition was not only there to bury Mguni, but also to test the waters in anticipation of an impending by-election to fill the vacancy left by the late legislator.
Responding to the claims in an interview on the sidelines of the burial, the party’s vice-chairperson, Job Sikhala dismissed the talk as mischievous and insensitive.
“That is absolutely scandalous, we don’t judge the mood of a by-election at a funeral. We have come here to bury our colleague with whom we worked well together in Parliament,” Sikhala said.
He said Zanu PF exhibited the spirit of Ubuthu when the opposition lost its own legislator Tsvangirai-Java a fortnight ago.
“We are reciprocating the gesture of Ubuntu shown by Zanu PF when we lost our own legislator Vimbai. As a party we are reciprocating this good gesture shown by Zanu PF. Death knows no boundaries and also the manner in which he died (united us). He died two hours after many of us had interacted with him, hence the high turn out,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by another party legislator Innocent Gonese, who said Mguni was a rare breed of a legislator.
“He was very humble and free to engage. I have never seen him angry. Zanu PF and MDC should unite. We have our differences, but that shouldn’t hinder us from working as a unit for our country,” Gonese said.
Mguni died on Tuesday last week at Avenues Clinic in Harare after succumbing to diabetes.
He is survived by wife Hlalani and three children.