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Robert Mugabe’s funeral can only be state funded for so long and then it must stop!

By Tendai Chabvuta | Follow his Blog |

The 21 Gun salute was done at Robert Mugabe’s funeral in Harare. Adios. Comrade! The foreign dignitaries have come and bade farewell to their colleague, father and mentor. The Mugabe family has elected to bury him NOT on the day announced by the government.

Tendai Chabvuta
Tendai Chabvuta

I reckon the ZANU PF led government has proposed a mausoleum to be built in 30 days and thus the new burial date. Everything is stage managed, it’s laughable. The truth be told though, Grace Mugabe and her G40 gang are now using old Bob’s funeral to extract concessions from Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government for security and protection.

It would seem Mnangagwa does not want the G40 to regroup. I posit they will give ZANU PF serious nightmares in the next election if they are not contained as they can coalesce with the MDC and deliver a defeat to ZANU PF.

To the uninitiated, the threatening stories of Mugabe’s avenging spirit if his wishes were not honored, as well as other incredulous superstitions peddled by his family seem valid. But truth be told, those are just empty threats.

For the ordinary Zimbabwean taxpayer though, this farce about this long held out funeral is unnecessary. The man must just be buried and Zimbabwe be allowed to move on. The whole hullabaloo about a mausoleum is just but an empty process that was not there on the cards right from the beginning.

Mugabe’s funeral had to be a national event funded by the state but beyond the normal funeral it must become a private funeral. Everything else becomes a continuation of the November 2017 coup drama between the ZANU PF’s Crocodile and G40 factions.

Who exactly is funding this and for how much?

Any state funeral in Zimbabwe has to be funded by the state. I am not privy and do not know up to how much should be spent on such funerals. What is clear though is that these are state resources coming from the national cake and taxpayers funds.

To put everything into perspective one has to understand that all these thousands of mourners need to be fed; the tents need to be paid for; the water, the fuel for the military and security cars running around and the “deep government”.

Zimbabwe is teetering on the brink of economic collapse and as always the priorities of the political leaders is to want to continue to live a life of grandiose pomp and political fanfare at the expense of the fiscus. Why should taxpayers fund a funeral that runs for a whole month? If Mugabe’s family feels that they need to be doing other things with the body then let them be but not have the Government of Zimbabwe funding the process.

This is ZANU PF factional fighting in overdrive

Mugabe is gone. The conflation of party politics and the state’s issues is a notorious character of Zimbabwe’s politics and ZANU PF. When this will ever end? His lieutenants in the likes of Patrick Zhuwao, Jonathan Moyo and Savior Kasukuwere complain of being hounded by the military junta running Zimbabwe since the November 2017 coup.

Mugabe’s death was always going to give the whole of G40 and Grace Mugabe a chance to extract concessions and reprieve from the junta. The group has been doing that relentlessly on international TV stations and anyone else who can listen since Mugabe’s demise.

They argue Mugabe died in exile. They argue they are still leaving outside Zimbabwe because they will be persecuted if they go back to Zimbabwe. It is true their homes were bombed, shot at and some escaped prison by a whisker.

To hold out the funeral would be to embarrass Mnangagwa who naturally has to bury this “icon” and officiate at the ceremony. He needs to look magnanimous at home as well as to Mugabe’s African friends. The G40 and Grace Mugabe so far remain in control playing the card of the funeral and Mugabe’s dead body.

But, this all remains ZANU PF politicking and factional fighting emanating from the November 2017 coup. By continually funding the funeral, the process continues to drain the fiscus, waste taxpayers money and holds the country’s fiscus to ransom. Why should this be allowed? The Government of Zimbabwe must allow the Mugabe family to have their private funeral and save our funds.

What are the rules with state expenditure and where is Parliament in all this?

I do not have information on what the limits to such spending are by the state. I would reckon this information must be made available in the Government’s policy directives. It has never been necessary but one would understand that if the nation is going to be made to mourn for another 30 more days then it is imperative that the information on such expenditure be made public.

ZANU PF MPs for their own expediency and to two the line of their boss would not push for this kind of information. However, those opposition MPs sitting in that august house need to ask for this kind of information and make it available to the public. Zimbabwe recently appealed for millions in relief aid but has the audacity to host a state funeral for 30 plus more days?

Zimbabwe’s perennial blood sucking non performing parastatals must just behave this time

Zimbabwe’s parastatals are famously known for blocking large tracts of space in independent and state newspapers, radio and television stations at high prices. Mnangagwa must reign in his comrades. Zimbabwe does not have that kind of money.

These people can write their speeches and farewell messages and post them on Facebook, twitter and so on and we will still be able to read them. YouTube, Facebook and Instagram is there if they decide to do bye bye videos. They must just save us the trouble.

What could be civil society’s role in controlling the excesses of this state funeral?

One thought tells me that Zimbabweans must be wary of being dragged into ZANU PF’s factional fights. But another one nudges me and tells me to ask if there is any civil society body in Zimbabwe or lawyers who would be willing to take up a matter and ask for the budgets for this funeral as well as a control on the expenditure of state resources.

The civic bodies are there, whether they see this as an important issue is for them to decide. Someone needs to put a check to this gluttonous state machinery now disguising itself in blackmailing fits of mourning for Robert Gabriel Mugabe. This abuse of state funds and taxpayers money for ZANU PF activities needs to be put to an end.

As I noted earlier, there is no dispute that Robert Gabriel Mugabe is a national hero and his funeral has to get state funding. However, this must be within reason. Mausoleums and 30-day marathon funerals all in a bid to extend immunities and protection negotiations for Grace Mugabe and the G40 cabal is none of our business as taxpayers.

The pan Africanists must now go back home and let Zimbabweans be

The pan Africanists and leaders from Africa have come to the funeral. Those like Uhuru Kenyatta who are busy will be gone by this evening. Some from crazy and useless countries will continue to roam around Harare of course costing us money in state protection etc. They have paid their dues to old Bob. It was only fitting that they send their comrade off in this manner.

However, the likes of Thabo Mbeki and all must now sit down and be the judges. One Zimbabwean was very clear during the xenophobic attacks – that if South Africans and I dare say the whole of Africa think that Zimbabweans are just cry babies then they can as well go and live there and we exchange the counties.

Otherwise, they must know that this state funeral should be over, they must go back home and not put many expectations on Mnangagwa to continue pattering to the Mugabe and the G40 arm of ZANU PF.

Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s funeral must now be a private funeral

Whether the Mugabe family want him buried in heaven, the said mausoleum, in a cave in Zvimba or next to Sally Mugabe, they must allow Zimbabweans the reprieve to have their taxes do other things for them like buying drugs in hospitals, textbooks in school, providing chemicals for clean running water in homes and fixing the economy.

It is small money in ZANU PF’s view as well as any other corrupt official but putting an end to such monstrosities such as what will become of this Mugabe funeral begins to give Zimbabweans power to reclaim their country, lives and finances from Robert Gabriel Mugabe. We do not ask for much!