Masvingo City Deputy Mayor and ZANU PF councilor for Ward 6 Wellington Mahwende has got tongues wagging with his mourning club which has been going around hijacking funerals in Masvingo.
Critics say Mahwende has been canvassing for votes for his re-election and that of his party in next year’s elections by sponsoring a group of professional mourners.
The ZANU PF mourners club, financed by the Deputy Mayor, moves around the city’s 10 Wards attending different funerals.
They allegedly conduct night vigils as well as providing transport and financial assistance to the bereaved families.
The mourners, who are composed of a choir with drums and clad in the party regalia, literary hijack funerals and sing the night away.
Mahwende, as the sponsor of the outfit, is then afforded a slot of time where he addresses the bereaved crowd nothwistanding their political affiliation.
The politician has since defended the practice saying its human etiquette.
“The bible teaches us to mourn with those who are mourning and likewise be merry with those who will be happy.
“This is our small way of comforting each other in times of need”, Mahwende recently told mourners at a funeral in Ward 2.
Council Funeral Policy Lapsed
The ZANU PF aligned mourning club has taken advantage on the failure by local authority for having a sound funeral assistance cover especially for the less privileged members of the community.
Back in the years Masvingo Council used to offer transport services to ferry the deceased’s body and transport mourners to cemeteries for poor families within the city.
But the policy was ended when the local authority, under the watch of the Deputy Mayor and his partners, sold a council bus for a paltry amount.
They also stopped other social responsibilities for the marginalized rate payers.
With the advent of his program, other residents have actually accused Mahwende of being responsible for the collapse of the long standing council policy in a bid to introduce his political plan.