Friday, May 31, 2019

JOC flexes muscles; no podium for Chamisa at Dabengwa burial

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The Joint Operations Command (JOC) led by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and State Security has officially taken over the burial programme for the late national hero Dumiso Dabengwa and will not allow anyone other than a family representative and a government official probably Vice President Kembo Mohadi to address the gathering.
The move which was strongly emphasised to both ZAPU, the political party Dabengwa led, and his family is believed to be a direct move to screen people who will speak at the burial including opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa and officials from ZAPU.
Chamisa is however expected to give a keynote address at Dabengwa’s memorial service to be held at the White City Stadium today.
Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Bulawayo Judith Ncube yesterday said all solidarity messages will be delivered today at White City Stadium as tomorrow’s burial proceedings will be confined to a State programme.
“Tomorrow’s (today) memorial service will be mainly controlled by the family. It’s a memorial service that we expect to be very big considering Dr Dabengwa’s stature. Those wishing to deliver solidarity messages are expected to speak tomorrow. However, on Saturday, it will be a burial service and we all know that in the burial of a national hero, it’s a closed programme where only the family speaks before the President delivers his speech,” said Ncube.
She said members of the public that intend to share their memories on Dr Dabengwa would be advised to do so at today’s memorial service at White City Stadium.
“So tomorrow (today) those who want to deliver solidarity messages, would be their day. We want to encourage those who will attend the memorial service to be at their best behaviour. We should respect Dr Dabengwa. We are what we are because of his contributions to the nation. We need to give him a huge send-off and I encourage members of the public to come in their numbers for the service. The gates at White City will be opened as early as 8AM,” she said.
Dr Dabengwa’s younger brother, Mr Jabu Dabengwa, said after the memorial service, the national hero’s body will lie in state at his home in Fourwinds suburb before they proceed for burial tomorrow morning.
“Most of the speeches by members of the public among other organisations will be delivered at the memorial service at White City Stadium. In Ntabazinduna where most of our relatives are based, the burial proceedings will follow what is done in the burial of other national heroes. There will be a family speaker and a Government representative. But we have also made a special request that our visitors from South Africa, members from African National Congress (ANC) and Umkhonto WeSizwe could deliver they solidarity messages during the burial as they will only be in the country on Saturday,” said Dabengwa.
Zapu acting president Isaac Mabuka confirmed the development. Burial programmes for national heroes are normally handled by the Ministry of Home Affairs in conjunction with family members.
“Our secretary general Strike Mnkandla is with the JOC right now, finalising the burial programme for our late president. Phone him to ask for more details,” said Mabuka.
Mnkandla also confirmed the development, adding Zapu was expecting a number of foreign dignitaries for the burial at Ntabazinduna.
With outspoken local traditional leader Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni and others including MDC president Nelson Chamisa expected to attend, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s handlers may want to reduce the risk of the Zanu PF leader being embarrassed if his adversaries are allowed to address mourners.
Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda confirmed the MDC leader has plans to attend.
“The president (Chamisa) was very close to the late national hero, Dabengwa and would want to attend his burial.
“There have been changes to the programme but president Chamisa is in constant touch with the family so that he is able to plan with the aim of paying his respects on his passing,” said Sibanda.
Dabengwa died last week in Nairobi, Kenya on his way back home from India where he had gone to seek specialist medical care.
He was declared a national hero but his family requested that he be laid to rest in his rural home as was his wish before he died.