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By Zvamaida Murwira
The body of MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, who died of colon cancer in South Africa on Wednesday, is expected home today ahead of burial at his rural home at Humanikwa Village, Buhera, on Monday. In an interview from Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday, Mr Tsvangirai’s younger brother, Collins, said the politician’s body will be flown to Harare today.
“There is going to be a memorial service here in Johannesburg this afternoon (yesterday) around 4pm,” he said.
“The body would then be flown to Harare on Saturday around 7pm. It will go to a funeral parlour before being taken to his Highlands residence where it will lie in state. We expect to leave Harare for Buhera on Sunday and our hope is that on Monday there will be burial, or Tuesday at the latest. We do not expect to go beyond Tuesday, but all things being equal, burial would be on Monday.”
Collins thanked the Government for providing financial assistance during the time his brother was admitted to hospital and after his demise. “We are grateful to the Government for its financial assistance,” he said.
“They have helped us in quite a big way. At the moment, Government officials are assisting us in the repatriation of the body.”
In another interview from Johannesburg, Mr Tsvangirai’s son, Edwin, said by last night preparations for the repatriation of his father’s body were at an advanced stage. “We are almost through. We are being assisted by the Zimbabwean Embassy, and the embassy has been quite instrumental in helping us.” Government directed the embassy to assist Mr Tsvangirai’s family in handling the process of repatriating the body and with other necessities.
MDC-T co-vice president Dr Thokozani Khupe issued a statement yesterday, saying she was in South Africa helping the family with the repatriation of the body, a development that was confirmed by Edwin.
Warring MDC-T co-vice presidents Messrs Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri spent the better part of the day at Mr Tsvangirai’s residence in Highlands, Harare. The two are tussling for control of the opposition party, as each of them claims to be the acting president.
A Zanu-PF delegation led by the revolutionary party’s national chairperson Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri visited the residence to commiserate with Mr Tsvangirai’s family.
Addressing mourners, Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri said the loss of Mr Tsvangirai was not only to his family and MDC-T, but to the whole nation given his contribution as a trade unionist and as Prime Minister during the inclusive Government.
“We are grieved, all of us, because we knew of his ailment, which we thought he would recover from,” she said. “In our grief, we want to thank God for the time we have had with him.”
Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri was accompanied by the ruling party’s national political commissar Lieutenant-General Engelbert Rugeke (Retired), and secretary for information and publicity Cde Simon Khaya Moyo.
MDC-T deputy national chairperson Mr Morgan Komichi paid tribute to Zanu-PF for coming to mourn with them. He said they were delighted and encouraged by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s call for free, fair and credible elections.
“We were actually on our way as MDC Alliance with a proposal to hold joint rallies with Zanu-PF denouncing political violence,” said Mr Komichi. “We have confidence in the new political dispensation that it has transformed from the old one.”
Earlier on, Zanu-PF secretary for war veterans Cde Victor Matemadanda visited Mr Tsvangirai’s residence to pay his condolences to the family. Zanu-PF national secretary for the Women’s League Cde Marble Chinomona said Mr Tsvangirai provided checks and balances to the Government through his criticism.