The absence of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa from the Heroes’ burial of Maud Muzenda and George Rutanhire following reports of his food poisoning two weeks ago, yesterday prompted President Robert Mugabe to query why there was so much talk about witchcraft in Masvingo, because he was now being implicated too.
Addressing mourners, Mugabe said: “Taiti Masvingo mukusupporter struggle, yaive upon-upon, Number One munyika. Takanga tisina vanogeda-geda semazuva ano aya. Haisiriyo tradition yeMasvingo yatiri kuona iyi. Zvava zvimwewo izvi.
“Kunonzi ikoko vanoona varoyi. Hameno kuti varoyi vacho vanoonekwa varipi. Ndaive naVaHungwe musi uno, ndichibvunza kuti, nhai VaHungwe, ko hamugadziridze izvi zvatiri kuona izvi?
“Kwakungonzi vanhu vose, even up to the President, muroyi. Ah ah ah! Kwatabva kwese uku? Kovangani vandauraya? Zvinobva kuMidlands here zvichienda kuMasvingo? Hatina zvevaroyi muparty. Tine vanotsaudzira gwara, hongu, asi varoyi kwete.
“Saka, kana muine huroyi or hun’anga hwekuona varoyi, ah, hazvimo muparty izvozvo. Saka, tinoti down with your witchcraft! Kwatabva tanga tisina izvozvo.”
Mnangagwa started fell sick and started vomiting at a youth rally in Gwanda two weeks ago and was rushed to hospital in South Africa.
There were allegations that he was poisoned while other reports said he ate stale food.
Mugabe said that Mnangagwa was only able to attend the body viewing at Stoddard Hall yesterday and asked to be excused.
“Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa tanga tiinavo asi vati muviri wavo hausati wanyatsopora, saka kuHeroes Acre handichaenda. As per ma instructions anachiremba vari kuHarare, havasungirwe kuzviita strain at this juncture. Saka vaenda kunozorora,” he said.
According to The Sunday Mail Mugabe described as primitive claims that the VP had been bewitched.
“Munonzwa ava vanotaura zvehuroyi sekuti munhu akarwara anonzi aroyiwa. It’s lack of ideology. Vanhu vangaende havo kun’anga; it’s different. But rega kushandisa your own belief in witchcraft and want to accuse vanhu vasina mhosva,” he said.
“Hurwere hurwere. Tese tinorwara moti vamwe kana vari maleaders, kana vakarwara, moti hanzi aroyiwa. When did this start? It’s not part of our culture at all.
“You might find it somewhere in a primitive society, but even nowadays, vanhu havachambofunga nezvehuroyi. Nemahospitals avako? Neruzivo rwavapo rwekuti certain diseases can attack us?
“That’s why we say please, please, please go to hospitals or to doctors for constant check-up, for constant check-up. The bodies are not ours. Manzwa zvichinzi it’s dust that we are carrying, and if anything is developing, they will tell you.”
Mnangagwa could also have avoided the embarrassment he was likely to face at Heroes’ Acre as Mugabe went on to say that Mnangagwa was one of those who chased former Vice-President Simon Muzenda from Gweru where he had been a Member of Parliament since independence to his rural home in Gutu.
He quoted Muzenda as saying: “Vakomana vari kuGweru vari kunditanda vachiti aihwa endai kwenyu kuMasvingo.
“Zvikanzi ivo ava anaEmmerson; ndovari kuti kuno ndekwedu endai kwenyu.”
At the time Muzenda was the Midlands boss while Eddison Zvobgo was the boss of Masingo.
Muzenda’s move to Masvingo pitted him against Zvobgo leading to a bitter feud between the two as Muzenda was being accused of being too close to Mugabe and was therefore thwarting the wishes of the Karanga to ascend to power.
Ed: See this story about the Masvingo squabbles written in 1993