EVEN in death Robert Mugabe is still dividing the MDC with the opposition party Tuesday morning holding a crisis meeting to find common ground on whether they will be part of Mugabe’s burial proceedings, the Zim Morning post has heard.
This comes amid sharp divisions within the Nelson Chamisa-led party whose structures are finding it difficult to find common ground on how to treat the emotive Mugabe issue whose life loomed large over Zimbabwe for three decades, stirring contrasting reactions.
Zim Morning Post understands Matebeleland senior party officials have outrighly declined to be associated with Mugabe stemming from the Gukurahundi atrocities. They are defiant Mugabe never seized any opportunity to apologise besides only saying the killing of thousands was a moment of madness.
“The MDC’s youth wing have also echoed the same sentiments insisting there is no need to sympathise with Mugabe adding it will take many years for Zimbabwe to recover from his poisonous legacy,” a senior party official who declined to be named as they do not have authority to speak to the media told Zim Morning Post.
“On the other hand, Chamisa and the top leaders say Mugabe remains the founding father despite his mistakes. The discord has even seen Chamisa receiving rare airplay on ZBC singing Mugabe’s praises. We all know ZBC’s stance on the MDC.”
Speaking soon after his demise on Friday Chamisa was indifferent.
“Even though I and our party, the MDC, and the Zimbabwean people had great political differences with the late former President during his tenure in office, and disagreed for decades, we recognise his contribution made during his lifetime as a nation’s founding President,” Chamisa said on his twitter account.
He added “there is a lot to say for a life of 95 years and national leadership spanning over 37 years but in the true spirit of Ubuntu the MDC will give this moment to mourning but there will be time for greater reflection.”
MDC deputy president Tendai Biti told the BBC that Mugabe will be remembered as a hero.
“Robert Mugabe was a product of a certain era, an era that confronted the colonial regime powder for powder, blow for blow, so violence came naturally to him. His legacy shouldn’t be detracted by the fact that there were atrocities, commissions and omissions committed,” he said.
“Today, we must mourn Robert Mugabe and pass condolences to his wife and children, and thank him for leading the battle against colonialism and for the emancipation of Zimbabwe leading to its independence in 1980.”
He continued: “I was tortured by Robert Mugabe in 2008. Many Zimbabweans were killed during Gukurahundi. But I don’t feel bitterness, I feel indebtedness, I feel gratitude to the work he did in liberating our country.”
In an interview with this publication MDC secretary general Chalton Hwende only said his party is meeting to find a way forward.
“We are having a Standing Committee meeting from 10am. So a position will emerge from that meeting,” Hwende said.
Party insiders said the outcome from the Standing committee meeting will determine whether the party will attend Mugabe’s burial or not.
However, party youths are reportedly planning for an ambush protest at Mugabe’s funeral in a show of disapproval of the the fallen leader’ leadership qualities.
They claim Mugabe was a tyrant and despot who wanted to die in office and whose legacy is that of a liberator who failed to liberate his own people from poverty and despair.