News Editor Tatenda Chipungudzanye
…Mugabe dies-Nyaradzo-Doves tussle-Tuku dies-Cyclone Idai-Water woes,-January Disease cattle
THE year 2019 was filled with disaster and misfortune and with 2020 upon us it is everyone’s wish that calamity vanished with the closure of 2019.
It was an annus horribilis – year of misfortune – where the founding President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe died, the year that one of the greatest musicians of our time Oliver Mtukudzi died, it is the year that fiery traditional healer Sekuru Ndunge died.
They year saw many lives being lost in Chimanimani because of a cyclone called Idai that wreaked havoc.
And crops wilted in the fields because of a drought.
There was massive load shedding of electricity in homes and industry because of shortage of power – Kariba is drying up because of below average rainfall.
The death of Mugabe
While this was not the first major occurrence in the year, it is imperative to begin with founding president Mugabe’s death.
The nationalist died in Singapore after a long struggle with prostate cancer.
The country was engulfed with sorrow.
Controversies over Mugabe burial
The late former President Mugabe was accorded National Hero status and was supposed to be buried at the National Heroes Acre but the family later one demanded that a mausoleum be built for him as they waited for burial.
As the mausoleum was being built, the Mugabe family thought otherwise and took the body to Zvimba for burial.
A public figure he was the late former President was given a private burial where the media was not even invited.
Nyaradzo, Doves ‘fight’ for the dead
The country’s biggest funeral parlours Nyaradzo and Doves seemed battling on the other end over the late former president Mugabe’s body. They all wanted to bury the late icon.
Doves is contracted by the Government to take care of State funerals but the Mugabe family preferred Nyaradzo such that there were two hearses at Rufaro Stadium when people walked in to pay their last respects. Doves was in control and Nyaradzo took the opportunity to market its business at Rufaro.
Not only did Nyaradzo and Doves compete for the late Mugabe’s body, but earlier on in the year, the two parlours wanted the job of burying the late Oliver Mtukudzi. Nyaradzo was taking care of business before Mtukudzi funeral was taken over by the State when Doves came in.
Nyaradzo however held onto the body until burial. Both funeral parlours also took that as an opportunity to showcase what they offer. Nyaradzo founder and CEO Phillip Mataranyika left administration work to driver the hearse with Tuku’s remains to the late musician’s Madziva rural home.
Tuku’s death unites Zimbos
On January 23 this year, the country and world at large lost one of the country’s finest musicians Oliver Mtukudzi.
The country was plunged into mourning with a theme #dhukufortuku where women wore doeks in hounour of the late musician.
Musicians, politicians, celebrities and the people of various opinions thronged Tuku’s homestead for the funeral. Tuku’s death united Zimbabweans. Those of different political opines shelved political beliefs and shared a beer and they made convoys to Madziva for Tuku’s burial.
While the late Tuku’s wife Daisy claimed rights to the musician’s memorabilia, Selmor – Tuku’s daughter – jumped in to control the musical ship. Those who played with Tuku rushed to sympathise with Selmor such that she got support in bid to continue steering Tuku legacy ahead. Piki Kasamba and others who played with Tuku have started gracing Selmor’s shows. What more rubber stamp does one want especially when the music greats support you. It happened to Suluman Chimbetu, Tryson Chimbetu and Peter Moyo when their father died and they took over their father’s bands.
Lives were lost in the beginning of the year when Cyclone Idai left a trail of disaster in Chimanimani, Chipinge and Bikita. People lost lives as they evacuated to safer areas as they were caught in the cyclone, livestock was lost as people concentrated in saving their lives. Some lost lives while trying to save their livestock. Some children lost their parents such that they are now orphans due to the devastating effects of cyclone Idai.
The year was also characterised by lack of adequate rains such that the usually reliable sources of water became dry. Harare and other town could no longer afford to cater for its residents in terms of water provision. Taps went dry, the only other sources were well which also went dry. Boreholes were resuscitated while some were sunk so that the precious liquid could be availed in communities. People have had to do with spending nights at boreholes while a new brisk business of selling water was born.
Because of low water levels in Kariba Dam, the country has faced serious power outages as Zesa rations the power countrywide. Loadshedding times have ranged to between 12 and 24 hours and in some areas days pass by without power.
The national head has depleted with farmers losing more than 50 000 cattle due to tick borne disease. The disease which is also called January Disease has left communal farmers without any draught power and their wealth depleted. While there are efforts to combat the disease, many areas have since been affected.
It is the year that one of the most respected traditionalists Sekuru Ndunge died. While his death was low key, there were shivers in many as there were indications that Ndunge had instructed all his clients to bring back charms before his death. Ndunge was well known for charms to make people successful in various sectors.