Unpacking Tsvangirai’s funeral crowd
“A sea of supporters clad in red garb, red being the official party colour, converged at the Freedom Square in Harare to pay their last respect in song and dance in honour of the man they said was always ready to listen to the voice of those who never had the ear of the government.
“Amidst the chants, vendors made a killing from selling spray-painted whistles, party regalia and red flags. MDC alliance acting President Nelson Chamisa waved at the crowd amid cheers and songs dedicatory to his name.
“In the meantime Vice President and former deputy Prime Minister, Khokozani Khupe sat beside Chamisa but not at once did she look at him. Another VP Elias Mudzuri who buried his eyes behind dark glasses was motionless neither participating in slogans nor following the crowd in clapping.
“Perhaps the gripe was that when the two were introduced there were roundly booed as the internal power scrap knowing at the opposition party reared its ugly head threatening to tear the movement apart. The MDC-T is badly in need of Tsvangirai glue that binds it together even before he has been buried.” John
When a popular figure dies the people who come to a funeral can be described as a motley of sympathisers, spies, professional mourners, romour mongers, hangers-on and those generally trying to while away time.
This, in the village, is called a cause-to-effect set up, where one thing sets off another until, there is confusion as to how the whole thing started. It will therefore, be folly to attribute the people at Morgan Tsvangirai’s funeral as Chamisa’s supporters. It gives the young man false courage and hope.
Some people left the comfort of their homes to catch a glimpse at Sulumani Chimbetu and his uncle Alan, who were staging a joint show for the first time in as many years at the funeral. Others wanted to see Mbuya Tsvangirai at close range as she had become a skit. Other were Locadia, Elizabeth, Mbuya Tsvangirai and Tsvangirai himself’ sympathisers, haters and relatives and or former school mates. Women’s empowerment groups cannot be left out. Villagers too! Party supporters.
The little minded among us, want to analyse the funeral crowd to an electoral crowd! Karitundundu weee! To my ancestors be the Glory!
What has made Morgan Tvsangirai’s funeral big is the Government that has created this celebrity funeral, funding all of it to give him a send-off befitting a former Prime Minister. It was never MDC T. MDC T does not and would never have the capacity to make this funeral big. Never! Credit goes to President Emmerson Mnangangwa, who has turned out to be a leader and not a ruler.
It is Zanu PF Government that dignified the funeral. In fact, the Zanu PF Government housed him properly, assisted him medical bills, did befitting funeral arrangements that ensured that Tsvangirai’s body was handled in the best possible manner, normally a preserve of State Presidents and senior Government officials. Wafa warova! (The dead is gone for good).
Soon as the dust settles after the funeral (in fact, it might never settle for MDC-T) the jostling for positions will start. The elections period will also be upon us where MDC-T will not only face itself, but concurrently face other political parties, the giant Zanu PF in the forefront, others in tow.
But it is the battle within itself that might bring it to its knees; Constitutionalism v/s Populism. Chamisa/ Kuphe and Mudzuri. Chamisa v/s the family.
The drama will play out. The rented crowd will no longer be there. Time, they say, is the greatest teacher!