Mourners gathered at the burial of Zanu PF councillor Edson Chauke in Mwenezi on Tuesday were barred from body viewing because of the corpse’s advanced state of decomposition that left it oozing yellow liquids through the coffin and sending a sharp stench into the air.
The body had spent 24 hours wrapped in a blanket on a hospital bed because Chikombedzi Hospital mortuary is not working due to massive power cuts.
The funeral left Zanu PF dignitaries, officers from the President’s Office, heads of Government departments embarrassed as women burnt cow dung to put out the strong odour.
Chauke’s body was kept overnight in a hut far from the rest. No one slept in the hut or stayed there with the body as is the African culture. Burial was hushed and by 8:30am mourners were back from the graveyard.
Indeed, the dying economy and the collapsed health system is sparing no one as Chauke, a Zanu PF guru in Mwenezi and a powerful man by virtue of the fact that he was also a headman was buried in the most undignified fashion; his body was shunned by everyone.
Chauke died at 6pm on Sunday and his body was wrapped in a blanket on his bed until Mwenezi Rural District Council collected it at 6pm on Monday. Decomposition was also accelerated by the soaring temperatures.
Silas Musengi, a young brother who accompanied the deceased to Chikombedzi said he was saddened by the pain and suffering that Chauke went through until he died.
“My brother complained of stomach and chest pains and my uncle and I took him to Chikombedzi and the nurses on duty put him on two drips after promising that a doctor would come and see him. The doctor never came until he died 12 hours later. Apart from the drips there was no other service rendered to him.
“After his death on Sunday, they said that the mortuary was not working and just wrapped him in blankets and left him the body on the bed until Monday evening when council officials came to ferry his body home,’’ said Musengi.
Mwenezi RDC Chief Executive Officer Albert Chivanga described Chauke as a hardworking man who had the desire to see improvement in social services delivery.
Chauke was a committee member for three committees namely Agriculture and Environmental, Natural Resources committee and Social Services committee.
The village urged people in his community to get funeral policies so that their bodies can be taken to private mortuaries when they die.