THE Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs, Shuvai Mahofa was buried at the National Heroes Acre Sunday amid protests by her supporters who preferred to have President Robert Mugabe or Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa preside over her funeral.
Many were seen walking away during the burial of the late Gutu Senator, Zanu PF Politburo member.
It all started with a group of more than 100 Zanu PF supporters suspected to be aligned to Mnangagwa (Lacoste faction), some of them in Zanu PF regalia seated on the terraces.
They refused to take orders from Master of Ceremony, Zanu PF Secretary for Administrator Ignatius Chombo, who had asked everyone to stand up and sing the National Anthem.
Instead, the group sang a derogatory song called Ndimi Makauraya (You are the murderers). For a moment, there was discord as the songs ran concurrently.
Apparently, they were referring to poisoning allegations on Mahofa in Victoria Falls last year inferring that it had caused her death.
As mourners sat down for Mafoha's grandson Gilbert Mahofa to give a speech, all seemed well and there was applause from the terraces as he spoke.
All hell broke loose as Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko started to present his speech standing in for President Mugabe who was said to be resting at home after his arrival from the SADC Summit.
Attempts by Chombo to stop the noise were fruitless as the mob continued singing and calling Mphoko names.
The police and members of the Zimbabwe National Army had to intervene as one of the protesters' was manhandled and grabbed by his trousers belt before he was taken behind the terraces where he was thoroughly beaten by four men in suits.
During Mphoko's speech, one could hardly hear him as the commotion grew louder through the terraces.
Chombo's calls for attention were unheeded and as soon as Mahofa's casket was carried to her grave, the protesters left the Heroes Acre in anger leaving officials who included diplomats in disbelief.
Police did not attempt to stop them, and no arrests have been reported.
New Zimbabwe caught up with one of the protesters (refused to be identified) as she was leaving the shrine and the woman had this to say: "We came from Masvingo to bury Mai Mahofa but, we got disappointed by the fact that a G40 VP has been asked to lead us in the burial of our heroine.
This is not fair because Mphoko never appreciated Mai Mahofa, Mnangagwa would have been much better."
President and his wife Grace Mugabe did not attend Mahofa's burial after the latter's violent incident at a South African hotel last week.
Mnangagwa, who also was in South Africa after an alleged poisoning incident, was not present too though sources said he was keen to be present, only to be stopped at the last minute for unknown reasons.
Mahofa, a staunch ally to Mnangagwa, died last Monday after she collapsed at her home in Masvingo town and was declared a national heroine by President Mugabe.