Kereke divides war vets

HARARE - The body of a liberation war hero exhumed in Mudzi late last year under former central bank advisor Munyaradzi Kereke’s “$100 000” project is lying at a mortuary in Bikita as wrangling stalls reburial.

This follows revelations that Kereke has demanded the burial of the provincial hero identified as Makunde be done at the deceased’s homestead in Mashoko instead of the Masvingo provincial heroes’ shrine.

Information gleaned from Zanu PF insiders shows Kereke, who is eyeing a senatorial seat in Bikita, particularly wants the burial in Mashoko as the controversial businessperson wants to gain political mileage out of it.

Mashoko falls under his desired constituency where he intends to run for Senate.

Insiders say the issue has divided the Bikita district chapter of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association hence stalling the reburial.

Kereke has the support of the war veterans’ district chairperson Ignatius Murindi, who is one of his campaign troops in his bid to represent Zanu PF in the elections ahead of Claudious Makova, who is also interested in the seat, insiders say.

The other members of the war veterans’ association led by deputy chairperson Robson Panganai are reportedly opposing the move insisting Makunde be buried at the provincial heroes’ acre and have demanded the donation be properly accounted for.

The group argues the spirit of the deceased whose remains are still in a mortuary at Silveira Mission Hospital indicated that it would want his remains buried at the shrine.

Zanu PF insiders however, told the Daily News that Makunde’s family members had since relocated to Angus area in Chiredzi and could not have asked for his burial in Mashoko.

They said the figure which has been donated by Kereke had been inflated, claiming the actual figure is $7 000. Zanu PF provincial secretary for finance Jeppy Jaboon confirmed the $ 7 000.

“I only heard about the $100 000 in the press. What I know is that the district got $7 000 for the reburial exercise and he is building a clinic here (Bikita) and renovating Mungezi Primary School,” said Jaboon.

“These people should learn to respect the dead and stop politicking. Kereke is taking advantage of the $2 000 he donated for the exhumation and Murindi cannot fool us because we are residents here. They should stop seeking political office using the dead,” said Jaboon.

A source said Kereke donated $2 000 for the exhumation and $5 000 for the district.

Kereke’s mobile number was unavailable when attempts to contact him for a comment were made. He did not respond to questions sent to him by text message.

Murindi confirmed the delay at the weekend and stated the burial will take place in Mashoko.

He rushed to defend Kereke saying the former top banker was being targeted by political rivals to tarnish his image.

He said all the money donated would be used for the purpose for which it was meant but refused to give figures.

Murindi said the decision to bury Makunde in Mashoko was taken by his family whom he said would not afford to travel to Masvingo whenever they wanted to perform traditional rituals.

“It is true we haven’t been able to bury his remains on time but maybe in two weeks’ time we will bury him in Mashoko. Those who say the venue is Kereke’s idea are bent on tarnishing his image because he is an aspiring senatorial candidate. Anyone with issues about the venue should come forward rather than going to the press.”

“The family of the deceased came up with the burial site as they wanted easy access to his grave when they perform their traditional rituals. We agreed as war veterans that he will be buried in Masvingo but we can’t go against the family because we don’t own him,” said Murindi. - Mugove Tafirenyika

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