Villagers Disown Mutasa At Son's Funeral

Didymus Mutasa, Mugabe's Minister of the Secret Police in Zimbabwe, shocked mourners at the burial of his son in Rusape day before yesterday. It was evident that his relatives and those who are his neighbours do not like the Minister at all. The burial took place at a plot owned by the Minister, although no one lives there anymore, amidst local rumour that the plot is a haven for ghosts.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 19 November 2009

An extraordinary thing happened at the funeral of Didymus Mutasa's son in Rusape  yesterday. Wing Commander Mutasa, the ZANU PF senior Minister's first born son, a good man by all accounts, was buried at the family plot, where no one lives because Mutasa has abandoned it and now lives at his farm in Headlands. Mutasa's first wife is also buried at the same plot.

But the funeral was embarrassing for the Minister (he is in charge of the CIO, Zimbabwe's Secret Police), because the villagers refused to dig his son's grave, saying they did not know Mutasa.

"He does not come to our funerals, haafambidzane nevamwe saka hatimuzive (he does not socialise with others, so we do not know him)," one of the neighbours said. 

The Air Force officers who were Wing Commander Mutasa's colleagues in the Air Force of Zimbabwe had come in their sand-blue uniforms and could not dig the grave. In the end, the group that had come to give the Wing Commander his final gun salute, who were all in camouflage, started digging.

The grave was only completed by ZANU PF youths who then had to be fetched from Mutare. Mutasa's first born son, who was supposed to have been buried at 11:00a.m., ended up being buried at 2p.m. as a result of the delay.

The custom in Zimbabwe is that, in the rural areas, especially, where there are no council workers or labourers to dig graves as there are in the city graveyards, neighbours and relatives do the job, which is considered one of the most important shows of solidarity by any Zimbabwean clan.

Bezel Nyabadza, the ZANU PF Provincial Chairman in Manicaland, marred the Church service for the deceased by using the occasion to moan endlessly about the absence of people from Manicaland in the top leadership of ZANU PF.

He was specifically talking about the defeat of Mutasa by Simon Khaya Moyo for the post of ZANU PF National Chairman in the wave of elections to shift the deck chairs on the Titanic known as ZANU PF in the wake of the death of Vice-president Msika.

"Poshaikwawo here munhu wekuno kwedu kumusoro ikoko? (How can we have no one from here in the top leadership?)", asked Nyabadza at the church service.

Mutasa himself also shocked the gathered mourners by departing from the funeral, as one mourner put it, "before even a single shovelful of soil had been put into the grave". In Zimbabwean tradition, it is unheard of that a father or any such close relative would depart from the burial and the funeral before the grave of their beloved one is covered up.

In fact, the closest relatives have to stay by the graveside all through the night on the day the deceased is buried. This is a practice that goes back to ancient times and is designed to foil "witches" who are said to want to come and eat the flesh of the deceased on the day that he or she is buried.

All the villagers at the funeral were shocked that Mutasa upped and left before these traditional formalities were concluded.

The Minister conducted one of the most vicious campaigns in the Headlands area to secure a seat in parliament. I remember that, at a rally held in Rusape by Dr Simba Makoni in the run-up to the March elections, he publicly castigated Mutasa and Chinamasa, saying: "I hear you are being terrorised here by two of my relatives, one is my brother and the other is babamudiki (younger brother to a father in the traditional Zimbabwean sense)."

It is not surprising that villagers and relatives in the areas do not like Mutasa, considering what he has done to them.

That is ZANU PF for you.


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