Tragic Funeral Violence Mars Activist’s Final Farewell  

Family Condemns Political Clashes at Moreblessing Ali's Burial  

by Oluwatosin Alabi

In an emotionally charged statement, the bereaved family of Moreblessing Ali, a devoted activist of the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC), vehemently condemned the factional violence that overshadowed the funeral proceedings at Zororo Park Cemetery in Chitungwiza on March 2, 2024.

The solemn occasion, intended to honor the memory of Moreblessing, was disrupted by unsettling incidents of violence and discord among attendees, casting a shadow over the family’s desires for a dignified farewell.

The funeral, which aimed to pay respects to Moreblessing Ali, was marred by several distressing events. A mourner publicly criticized former legislator Job Sikhala, accusing him of betraying the opposition CCC and causing disunity. This accusation led to heightened tensions among the attendees. Furthermore, an altercation ensued when councillor Darlington Musonza, identified as a Sikhala ally, was reported to have slapped two women, leading to an escalation of violence.

According to the New Zimbabwe, the confrontation intensified as Musonza’s vehicle was attacked and he was forced to flee under hostile circumstances. This incident not only disrupted the peace but also brought to light accusations against Musonza, including allegations of womanizing and being a land baron.

In the aftermath, Washington Ali, speaking on behalf of the Ali family, expressed deep dismay and disappointment over the intrusion of political rivalries and violence into what was meant to be a respectful and solemn occasion. The family had hoped for a peaceful ceremony to honor Moreblessing’s legacy, devoid of the political tensions that ultimately emerged.

The Ali family had previously made it clear that the funeral was to be conducted in accordance with their wishes, emphasizing the exclusion of politics, slogans, or any form of interference that could detract from the solemnity of the event.

The Ali family had a particular respect and admiration for Job Sikhala, recognizing his efforts and sacrifices. Sikhala, who had been incarcerated for nearly two years for his advocacy on behalf of Moreblessing, was seen by the family as a key figure in their quest for justice following her disappearance in May 2022.

Despite the controversy surrounding him at the funeral, the family had insisted on waiting for Sikhala’s release from prison before proceeding with the burial, highlighting the depth of their gratitude and trust in his support.

The family’s statement also addressed the unfortunate reality that some attendees chose to ignore their wishes, leading to a breakdown of order and respect at the funeral. This not only disrespected the memory of Moreblessing but also exposed the family and other mourners to unnecessary distress.

In response to these events, the family has sought the involvement of law enforcement to address the disruptive behaviors, emphasizing the importance of maintaining decorum and respect during such sensitive occasions.

Moreblessing Ali’s tragic death on May 24, 2022, at the hands of Pius Jamba, who was later convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison, is a stark reminder of the challenges facing activists in Zimbabwe. Her dismembered remains were discovered in a disused well, a gruesome end that shocked the community and highlighted the perilous environment in which political activists operate.

The violent disruptions at Moreblessing Ali’s funeral underscore a broader issue of political violence and intolerance within Zimbabwe, particularly among opposition factions. The incident at Zororo Park Cemetery reflects the deep divisions and tensions that can undermine unity and respect for human dignity, even in moments of collective mourning.

As Zimbabwe grapples with these challenges, the Ali family’s experience serves as a poignant call for reflection and change. It underscores the need for political factions to prioritize compassion, respect, and unity over rivalry and discord, especially in moments of grief and remembrance. The family’s ordeal is a somber reminder of the human cost of political violence and the urgent need for reconciliation and peace in the face of loss and tragedy.

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