The family of the late MDC-T leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, yesterday defended their ill treatment of the deceased’s widow, Ms Elizabeth Macheka, saying the politician was a polygamist.
The family said Ms Macheka was, therefore, not expected to “monopolise Mr Tsvangirai’s funeral”.
In an interview, Mr Tsvangirai’s brother, Manase, said they were bound to give recognition to all families, whose daughters were married to the opposition leader.
Mr Tsvangirai was married to Susan Mhundwa, who died in a car crash in 2009 and they had six children.
He sired four other children with two different women before his latest marriage to Ms Macheka.
His family yesterday recognised the Mhundwa family and gave them two slots to speak, while the Machekas did not deliver a speech and were rarely mentioned.
Ms Macheka had been playing a peripheral role since the death of her husband, as she had to travel by road to Buhera, while Mr Tsvangirai’s close relatives used helicopters provided by Government to ferry his body from Harare.
Manase said it was a cultural practice that a deceased’s mother played an equally central role at a funeral, hence Mr Tsvangirai’s mother, Gogo Lydia Chibwe Tsvangirai’s active participation during the funeral wake.
“We have to treat all these wives equally,” said Manase. “Maiguru Elizabeth was with the body from South Africa to Harare, naturally one has to give others a chance.
“When we were preparing to depart from One Commando to Buhera for the burial, we were asked to provide four people to accompany the body and it followed that she had to give others a chance and that is why she travelled by road. It had nothing to do with allegations of ill-treating her.
“When she came here last night, we gave her a room to sleep in and what better recognition do you expect, and she was quite happy. If you have three wives, for example, and even if one dies, that symbolic union cannot be taken away, particularly when there are children and when lobola was paid. If you do not agree with my interpretation we can ask any elder around.”
During burial proceedings yesterday, Manase made a veiled attack on MDC-T co-vice president Advocate Nelson Chamisa.
“It is people who vote you into office,” he said. “It is not right to treat people like waste.”
Manase launched a scathing attack on the media for interviewing his mother while she was mourning.
Speaking at the same occasion, zanu-pf national chairperson Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri described Mr Tsvangirai as a good leader.
“Good works speak for themselves and this is evidenced by the huge crowd in attendance here,” said Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri, who was accompanied by Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Cde Monica Mutsvangwa.
In his speech, Adv Chamisa said he would soon convene special meetings to determine the party’s future.
“We do not want a lot of noise in the cockpit,” he said. “Some people are talking of convening an extraordinary congress. We must first go to the people to hear what they want.”
Adv Chamisa expressed confidence that he was going to win this year’s general elections, saying if he failed to register a victory he would retire from politics.
Other people who spoke included Kenyan opposition leader, Mr Raila Odinga, National People’s Party president, Dr Joice Mujuru and former deputy Prime Minister in the Inclusive Government Professor Arthur Mutambara.
Several diplomats from Western countries also attended the funeral.