MSIPA FUNERAL: Morgan Tsvangirai Fears Mugabe Will Humiliate Him
Opposition MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, might not attend the burial of veteran nationalist, Cephas Msipa, tomorrow at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare, as he fears humiliation by President Robert Mugabe.
President Mugabe often uses public events to lash out at his critics, though it was not clear at the time of writing what new form of humiliation Tsvangirai feared Mugabe will use against him.
MDC-T secretary general, Douglas Mwonzora said the party’s top leadership would attend.
“Some of our leaders will definitely attend the burial,” he said without giving specifics.
Asked if Tsvangirai would attend, Mwonzora said the veteran opposition leader would want to attend, but did not trust Mugabe.
“The president (Tsvangirai) is coming back tomorrow (today) from his routine treatment (in South Africa) and I am sure he would want to attend. However, we are aware that Mugabe might want to use the platform to humiliate him, but Tsvangirai would be very willing to be part of the proceedings,” he said.
Party spokesperson, Obert Gutu was more forthright.
“Plans are already in place for the president to attend the late national hero, Msipa’s burial. Our leader is currently out of the country, but he would certainly love to be one of the mourners at the national shrine, when the late Msipa will be laid to rest,” he said.
Msipa’s family was arm-twisted by President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party into agreeing to his burial at the national shrine against the late former Cabinet minister’s dying wish to be laid to rest next to his wife in Gweru.
Mugabe attended Msipa’s funeral wake on Wednesday and came face to face with former Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, now a leading figure in the opposition Zimbabwe People First led by ex-Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
Gumbo said he would attend Msipa’s burial. Regarding his brief encounter with Mugabe, he described the Zanu PF leader and his wife, First Lady Grace Mugabe as “courteous”.
“I definitely will be attending. He (Mugabe) just paid his condolences. He and his wife were very courteous. They understand my relationship with the late Msipa. I do not think there is any need for us to hate each other because we have had differences in political opinion,” he said, adding he was not aware if Mujuru would attend.
Efforts to get a comment from Mujuru’s spokesperson, Gift Nyandoro proved fruitless.
Gumbo left Zanu PF unceremoniously, following an acrimonious fall-out that also led to Mujuru’s expulsion along with a host of other leaders on allegations the group was plotting against Mugabe.
Zapu leader, Dumiso Dabengwa said he would only be able to attend the church service in Gweru set for today.
“I have just been informed today (yesterday) that burial is now set for Harare. I would have attended if it was in Gweru because on Saturday I have to attend the burial ceremony for Apostle (Charles) Chiriseri (leader of His Presence Ministries, who died in a car crash last month). He was my son-in-law,” he said.
Former Finance minister and People’s Democratic Party leader, Tendai Biti said he would only pay his condolences at the Msipa home. Zimbabwe newsday
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