31 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Ministers Clash At Makumbe's Burial

Photo: Charles Saki/RNW
Zimbabwe's late political analyst Professor John Makumbe.

Buhera — Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga yesterday criticised his MDC-T party's slogan, saying it promotes violence and is not constructive.

Minister Matinenga was speaking at the burial of University of Zimbabwe lecturer Professor John Makumbe at his rural home in Matsveru village in Buhera.

"We want to address issues. Unonzwa vanhu vachiita maslogans vachiti nhingi mudenga. Roverai pasi. Bwa. Tsikai nemagirazi ake. Chii chinotibatsira kana tikati munhu pasi bwa? (We say hit someone against the ground. Of what help to us is that slogan). We want constructive slogans," he said.

"Takati slogan iyoyo kuno hatiyidi. Ngatitsvagei imwe slogan ine zvainoreva (We banned that slogan in this area. Let's come up with a fresh slogan)."

But Information Communication and Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa, who is also the MDC-T organising secretary, chided Minister Matinenga saying he is misinformed.

"I want to correct Minister Matinenga. We do not believe in violence. Bwa yedu haisi yekurova vanhu asi ndeyekudonha kwemunhu," he said.

Minister Matinenga warned the party's leadership that they might destroy the party if they denied people in Buhera West an opportunity to elect their leaders during primary elections.

He said he had served the party and Government both as minister and legislator for Buhera West and wanted to pass the baton to others.

Speaking at the same occasion, MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai lashed out at some party supporters whom he accused of sowing seeds of divisions in the party's Buhera West constituency.

He criticised some party officials whom he said wanted to block Prof Makumbe from contesting the party's primaries in the constituency.

"I heard some people here saying that Matinenga is resigning, but he is coming here with Makumbe on his back," he said.

"People have the right to choose their leaders. Some of you say that but do you know how the MDC started? Vamwe mave kuita vana muchekadzafa asi pazvaive zvakaoma makanga musipo (You want to take advantage when you ran away during difficult times)," he said.

Mr Tsvangirai said his party was a product of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the National Constitutional Assembly where Prof Makumbe was an active member.

He bemoaned the death of Prof Makumbe, saying his party had lost eight senior members in the past six months.

"When I heard about his death, I said am I now going to be a professional mourner," he said.

Mr Tsvangirai said Prof Makumbe played a pivotal role in the crafting of the draft constitution that would be presented to Parliament next week.

He said the draft constitution which Prof Makumbe helped to craft was a democratic document that would lead to free and fair elections.

Prof Makumbe's burial was attended by several senior MDC-T officials, University of Zimbabwe lecturers and Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Dr Simba Makoni.

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