MDC-T acting leader Thokozani Khupe and several party leaders including acting secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora and acting national chairperson Morgen Komichi had physical contact with reportedly a patient who later succumbed to COVID-19 early this week.
BY BRENNA MATENDERE
Gardener Mukoyi, father to MDC-T national youth chairperson Shakespeare Mukoyi, died at a local hospital in Harare on Monday and post-mortem results released on Wednesday, revealed that his death was COVID-19-related.
During his illness, Khupe, Mwonzora and Komichi as well as several other party leaders and some supporters paid numerous visits to the Mukoyis in Kuwadzana 3, Harare last week.
When his health deteriorated, Shakespeare drove his father to a local private hospital in Harare where he later died.
Sources told NewsDay that Khupe and the entire party leadership also visited Mukoyi’s residence to pay their last respects and had physiacl contact with relatives of the deceased who were nursing him. He was buried yesterday in Rukweza village, Rusape.
A message to confirm that Mukoyi died of COVID-19 was conveyed to party leaders in their social media group by the MDC-T Harare province on Wednesday.
The message read: “… Mourners are still gathered at 3506 Kuwadzana 3. Postmortem results are out and it is sad to note that our baba succumbed to COVID-19. The body will leave Harare tomorrow Thursday 23/07/2020 for Rukweza in Rusape for burial the same day.”
Highly-placed sources in the party yesterday said anxiety had gripped the leadership after the post-mortem results were made public.
“The trio of president Khupe and other top officials like Mwonzora and Komichi together with other senior cadres from the women’s assembly, standing committee and youth assembly all took turns to visit the home of “General” Shaky when his father was unwell. However, we have all now been startled that he later died and results of post-mortem say it was COVID-19,” the source said.
“All along people never suspected that the old man had COVID-19. So it’s now a panicky situation in our party. Even “General” Shaky himself may soon be in danger because he took care of his father before he passed on.”
Other officials said the situation could have been worse if the party’s July 31 extraordinary congress had not been deferred as that event could have triggered hundreds of local transmissions in Harare since about 4 500 people were expected to attend.
MDC-T deputy spokesperson, Khalipani Phugeni denied that Khupe had close contact with the deceased.“Please note that I am not aware of the said post-mortem results,” he said.
“I am not sure about the secretary-general (Mwonzora) and national chairman (Komichi), but MDC-T president Thokozani Khupe never had contact with the deceased before death. She only visited the house to pay her condolences, but she did not last more than five minutes there,” Phugeni said.
But insiders accused Phugeni of micro-managing information to avoid panic in the opposition top leadership.