TEMPERS flared at the burial of liberation war fighter Steben Chiweshe in Muzarabani on Saturday as the newly-installed Mashonaland Central interim provincial war veterans executive blocked former chairperson Sam Parirenyatwa from addressing the mourners, further widening the fissures in the province.
Chiweshe, who succumbed to cancer, was a member of the “dissolved” provincial war veterans association led by Parirenyatwa and was granted provincial hero status following a request made by the latter.
Parirenyatwa, who was scheduled to speak at the burial, was sent on a wild goose chase allegedly by Zanu PF provincial chairperson Kazembe Kazembe’s faction as the event proceeded only to realise later that he had been fooled.
A source told NewsDay that Kazembe made sure that Parirenyatwa was not part of the proceedings. As part of the plot, it is alleged, Zanu PF politburo member Kenneth Musanhi called for a briefing with Parirenyatwa’s beleaguered executive in Glendale on the day of the burial, only for the latter to realise that it was a ruse.
Parirenyatwa later sped to Muzarabani, but was denied the opportunity to address the mourners by Muzarabani district development co-ordinator John Chihobo, leading to a commotion which was thwarted by police.
A member of Parirenyatwa’s “fired” executive, Farai Mataire, confirmed the development.
“I can confirm that there was a clash, but I can’t give further details,” he said.
Parirenyatwa refused to comment on the matter.
Kazembe and Musanhi were not picking calls when sought for comment.
However, Zanu PF provincial spokesperson Alfred Mufunga accused Parirenyatwa of arriving late for the burial.
“Parirenyatwa came late after the family members had already spoken and Kazembe spoke as the Minister of Home Affairs. It had nothing to do with the party,” he said.
Meanwhile, the former provincial war veterans association members, who spoke to NewsDay on the sidelines of the burial, accused war veterans politburo secretary Douglas Mahiya of meddling in their affairs.
Mahiya recently presided over the installation of the interim war veterans league in the province without the consent of provincial chairpersons and the party’s national commissar Victor Matemadanda Parirenyatwa’s executive was dissolved in absentia on June 7 and replaced by an interim committee led by Richard Chirongwe and Luke Mushoore, both linked to the G40 faction, inviting criticism from other provinces.