By Tafara Shumba
During the interment of the late music icon and national hero, Oliver Mtukudzi, friends and relatives spoke about his attributes and humility was the common thread in all the graveside orations.
Dr Mtukudzi, mourners said, was a man of deep humility. He had a feeling or attitude that he had no special importance that made him better than others. Humility is the mother of all virtues and one would expect mourners to get an inspiration from the late hero to aspire to be the epitome of this rare attribute. Unfortunately the funeral was nearly turned into bedlam by some people serious dearth of the virtue of humility.
The MDC leader, Mr Nelson Chamisa has already proved that he has a deficiency of that attribute. As an aspiring president, Mr Chamisa should know that the cult of ego leads to humiliation. If he decides to invest in self-exaltation as he is doing, he must know that he has embarked on a journey that will end in shame. Former First Lady, Grace Mugabe is a surviving testimony for him.
Social media is awash with complaints of the alleged ill-treatment of Mr Chamisa by security at the funeral of Mtukudzi. Those are not sincere grievances. Mr Chamisa, as claimed by his social media brigades, was never barred from entering the National Sports Stadium for a send-off ceremony of the music legend on Saturday. Neither was he barred from attending the burial procession in Madziwa.
When Mtukudzi died, citizens from across the political divide pressed for the conferment of national hero status on the icon which the government did. Once a person is accorded that status, the State takes over the funeral. State funerals have protocols that everybody is obliged to observe. Mr Chamisa, probably blinkered by narcissism, decided to defy those protocols.
At the National Sports Stadium, the MDC leader wanted to enter the stadium with a motorcade. He actually wanted to use the underground tunnel normally used by the President. This was perhaps a calculated scheme to steal the thunder. That was in bad taste and not the African way to attempt to profit from a funeral. It was time to mourn the legend not to politick.
On his twitter handle, Mr Chamisa wrote about his attendance to the funeral of Kudakwashe Kapandamurongo, a 22 year old Mbare resident he alleged to have died of injuries and beatings by State agents. While his supporters were posting condolences, one of them asked something about the congress. “Let’s chat about such at the appropriate time. Let us honour this dear departed young life,” was the response from Mr Chamisa.
It’s surprising that Mr Chamisa knows the purpose of a funeral, which is to honour a departed life. In his speech at Mtukudzi’s home in Norton, Mr Chamisa attacked President Emmerson Mnangagwa. He threw some political innuendos here and there. Was it not time to honour the departed life of a legend? What hypocrisy!
He did the same thing at his predecessor, Morgan Tsvangirai’s funeral where the procession was turned into a rally. Although he was roundly condemned, at least it was the death of a politician and political gospel at that funeral was not completely a bad idea. What was only bad was the antagonistic nature of the politics. It was used as a launch pad to grab power from Dr Thokozani Khupe, that party’s constitutionally designated heir.
To borrow Mr Chamisa’s own words, it was stupid for him to attempt to attend a funeral of a national hero who was not even his relative; neither was he a member of his party, in a convoy. Everybody else parked their cars outside including close relatives. By demanding to use the presidential entrance, Mr Chamisa took himself as president.
As a pastor, he must know better the consequences of self-importance. There are even scriptures that edify on humility. Yours truly goes to the same church with the wannabe president, thus, he is obliged to leave a scripture for him that teaches him on humility – as a brother’s keeper of course. It was a parable given by Jesus after he noticed how the guests at a wedding picked the places of honour at the table.
“When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honour, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honoured in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted,” said Jesus in Luke 14 verses 7-11.
Indeed, Mr Chamisa attempted to exalt himself and he was humbled. He eventually watched the procession while standing amongst the rank and file, not by choice of course. If he had humbled himself in the first place, definitely somebody would have gone to usher him to the VIP tent where his humble deputy, Engineer Elias Mudzuri was seated with other humble dignitaries.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.