After realising that opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa would attend the funeral of the late top Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) cleric Tabeth Chiweshe, the police dispersed mourners on Saturday resulting in the cancellation of the service.
This comes after the law enforcement agents allegedly received information that Chamisa who is also a pastor with AFM, would attend the funeral which was held at the Mount Carmel Assembly in Chitungwiza.
According to NewZimbabwe.com sources, Sunday, the disruption of the funeral wake for the late Chiweshe was meant to block Chamisa from attending the funeral and pay his last respects.
The Chiweshe family allegedly cancelled the church service in Chitungwiza and headed for Bluffhill in Harare where one of the deceased’s sons resides.
“The hearse ferrying the deceased and the funeral convoy were driving to AFM in Zimbabwe Mount Carmel Assembly in Chitungwiza from a funeral parlour in Harare and a number of bystanders were waiting by the roadside to pay their last respects to the revered woman of cloth,” one church member said.
“At the church, we were, however, shocked to see baton sticks wielding anti-riot police officers disembarking from a truck and ordering mourners to immediately go indoors. No explanation was given to justify these actions.
“Despite all these arrangements, the police details pursued us all the way from Chitungwiza to Bluffhill and when we arrived there, they stood at the gate and monitored everyone entering the residence. We strongly suspect the move was aimed at frustrating Chamisa’s visit,” the source said.
When the Zimbabwe Republic Police national spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi was contacted for a comment, he dismissed allegations as “mere suspicions”.
“The issue is that the deceased passed away in Concession but the family members decided to hold the funeral in Chitungwiza where over 800 mourners converged to pay their last respects. Such bumper crowds are in violation of Covid-19 regulations and this attracted the police’s attention.
“After the confrontation by police officers, the family members decided to change the venue and headed for Bluffhill where another bumper crowd turned up. This left the police with no option except to enforce compliance,” he said.