SUSPECTED members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) last Saturday confiscated Zapu placards at the memorial service of the late national hero, Vice-President Joseph Msika, at White City Stadium claiming they posed a security risk.
According to Zapu, four suspected CIO operatives took away placards with farewell messages for Msika who became the third vice president to die in office since Independence. Msika was buried at Heroes Acre on Monday.
Methuseli Moyo, Zapu communications director, told the Zimbabwe Independent in Bulawayo that the four state spies ransacked a tent housing party members who were with the placards and grabbed them.
â€œThey demanded to know who had brought the placards to the stadium, but we didnâ€™t divulge the information,â€ Moyo said. â€œOur members who resisted their move were threatened with arrest. Senior CIO agents claimed that the posters were a security risk.â€
Some of the placards read: â€œMsika died Zapuâ€; â€œZapu never diesâ€; â€œZapu is the wayâ€; and â€œRIP commander-in-chiefâ€. Â
Zapu members who attended the memorial service were led by party interim chairperson and former cabinet minister Dumiso Dabengwa.
Moyo said to Zapuâ€™s dismay, the suspected CIO operatives allowed Zanu PF members to attend the service in party regalia and had placards.
A Zipra war veterans banner with a farewell message for Msika was pulled down from the perimeter fence by police officers.
Moyo said it was tragic that at a funeral of a man who spent five decades fighting for freedom, the CIO and police used the occasion to curtail the same freedom that Msika fought for.
â€œWorse still, all this happened a stone throw away from the departed nationalistâ€™s Pelandaba home from which he prosecuted the struggle for freedom,â€ Moyo added.
Msika once served as an MP for Pelandaba.
This came amid media reports that rival Zanu PF factions clashed on Friday over the selection of people who were to accompany Msikaâ€™s body to his Chiweshe rural home and later Bulawayo.
Party chairman John Nkomo finally accompanied the body.
Police reportedly had to be called to quell clashes by youths belonging to the factions.
The youths loyal to Nkomo allegedly barred their colleagues who support Obert Mpofu, the Umguza Zanu-PF legislator and Mines minister, from attending a meeting held at the Zanu-PF offices at Davies Hall in Bulawayo.
Nkomo and Mpofu are reportedly eyeing to replace Msika as vice president.