The Zanu-PF commissariat and the ruling party’s Harare provincial leadership have come under fire for failing to transport people to attend yesterday’s burial of national hero Peter Chanetsa in the capital, amid claims of attempts to sabotage the ceremony presided over by Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa. A significant number of leaders from Harare province were conspicuous by their absence at the National Heroes Acre. Harare provincial chairman Chris Tavengwa’s cellphone went unanswered yesterday, while the province’s commissar Shadreck Mashayamobe’s mobile phone was not reachable.
Unconfirmed reports had it that five buses dispatched to Mashayamombe’s constituency did not subsequently ferry mourners as people were told that the vehicles had mysteriously come without fuel.
Party officials from Mashonaland West province, where Chanetsa hailed from, told reporters that buses from Harare arrived late to pick up mourners.
Mashonaland West requested Zanu-PF’s Politburo to accord Chanetsa hero status. It was also revealed that buses which were expected to pick up people from constituencies in Harare were grounded after “failing” to access fuel.
Zanu-PF Harare secretary for information Abisha Ushewekunze blamed the rains. However, the rains stopped before 9am and proceedings at the National Heroes Acre started after 10am and ended after 1pm.
Said Ushewekunze: “It was really the rains that affected the attendance. We had 20 buses which covered all the 29 constituencies in Harare and all the logistics were there to ferry people but most people did not come because of the rains.”
Asked why most of the Harare leadership was absent and about the alleged disappearance of fuel, Ushewekunze responded: “I really can’t say there is any other reason besides the rains. I can’t comment beyond that.”
Mashonaland West secretary for administration Simbarashe Ziyambi, however, said things “had not been organised properly”.
“Traditionally the buses come from Harare to respective districts during the night so that when people see them they confirm with certainty that they will travel the following day. This time around it was different because the buses arrived in the morning. People are used to getting picked up at around 4 to 5am in the morning so the delays definitely put-off some people who are acquainted with the usual procedures.
“I can say with certainty that the majority of people in the terraces where from Mashonaland West. We also had two buses which had breakdowns, but out the nine buses seven made it to the venue and we were well represented,” he said.
A provincial member said the National Commissariat should sort out the structural mess in the province as it was unclear who was the local political commissar as there were fights between Cdes John Yotamu and Saidi Kadhoza from Zvimba district.
This, he said, made it difficult to organise logistics and rectify errors.
Mashonaland West provincial chairman Ephraim Chengeta, who attended the burial, blamed logistical challenges and morning rains for the lower than usual attendance. “Most mourners were stranded because some of the buses arrived late while others have been affected by the heavy rains,” he said
Zanu-PF National Political Commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, who was part of the proceedings, said there were “organisational problems”.
“I think there was a problem on the part of the Ministry of Home Affairs in terms of organisation because we are told that some buses failed to access fuel thereby failing to pick up some people.
“But to be honest with you, the crowd was decent considering that some people are on holidays and many are busy with farming. Instead we must thank those who braved the weather to come.”