HARARE – Zapu claims Zanu PF officials humiliated the family of struggle icon Josiah Chinamano following the death of Josiah Chinamano Jnr on Christmas Day.
Josiah Jnr was buried in Seke communal lands last week and Zanu PF only helped after the Daily News exposed how the party had abandoned the family.
Zapu deputy president Emilia Mukaratirwa told the Daily News her party was unhappy with reports that Zanu PF activists and officials had not only refused to help but harassed the Chinamanos demanding party cards as a precondition to assisting the stricken family.
“We were told Zanu PF asked for Josiah’s membership card and whether it was paid up. He did not have those things and those that have assisted in particular Webster Shamu (Information minister) and Victoria Chitepo (Zanu PF politburo member) are doing so in their personal capacities,” Mukaratirwa told the Daily News.
Josiah Jnr, whose parents Josiah senior and Ruth are buried at the Heroes Acre, was at one time detained by the colonial regime. Ruth was a senior Zanu PF member at the time of her death while her husband was a founder of the liberation struggle and Zapu vice president before his death in 1984.
Family spokesperson Kuda Chinamano, while confirming that Zanu PF had asked for documentation, denied it had asked for party cards.
“The party did not ask for a party card but for a force number they said should have been given to Josiah during the war. We did not have it.
“He was a Zanu PF member but I would not say his card would have been up to date because he was not feeling well the whole of last year and his activism had somewhat diminished,” Kuda said.
He said Zanu PF had assisted during the funeral but had failed to do so earlier because “they were on holiday”.
Mukaratirwa was not amused.
“As Africans this is not supposed to happen of all things funerals are supposed to unite us. How can people stoop to the level of asking party cards from a dead person?
“Do we ask for party cards before assisting at an accident scene?” she queried.
“It is inhuman and unacceptable of leaders and its true from what we saw there was no party involvement but individuals,” said Mukaratirwa.
Typically a sombre atmosphere pervaded the family home in the iconic Highfield high density suburb as preparations for Josiah’s burial commenced, however, it was the palpable tension that made everyone uneasy.
A Daily News crew attended the event under cover because of the hostilities raised by our story highlighting how Josiah, who at the tender age of six was incarcerated along with his parents for 19 months, might receive a pauper’s burial.
It was evident there was a disconnect between what the family really wanted and how the party officials present, who were evidently trying to do too much, wanted.
After eventually paying for a funeral parlour to take care of the burial arrangements, the party hired another private bus to ferry mourners to Seke communal lands where Josiah’s remains were to be buried.
The irony was that there were not enough mourners to fill the two buses as the funeral company had also provided another one.
Zanu PF Harare provincial chairperson Amos Midzi said his party had done “wonderfully well” in assisting the family.
“It is all there for all to see. We have done a lot, the casket and food,” he said.
Shamu had previously dismissed claims that Zanu PF abandoned the Chinamano family, saying party leaders were on holiday hence the slow reaction.