No one was singing as is the norm, all conversations were in hushed tones, stocky young men made their presence known through seemingly coordinated moves around the Ali homestead, creating a tense environment.
A few kilometres away, part of the Ali family, having been barred from mourning their daughter, mother, and sister Moreblessing Ali (36) at her Nyatsime home, sat in their counsel Job Sikhala’s office.
They said they no longer knew what they could do, where they could go and how to deal with their “unprecedented” treatment by Zanu PF.
They looked lost, stranded with nowhere to go despite the funeral wake being theirs. A two-week search for the mother of two and harassment after finding her body seemed to have drained the little fight they had in them.
“All we ask for is to bury our child with no drama, we just want to do this in peace. We do not want to provide a fighting ground for people, we are hurt and need prayers,” said Wellington Ali, brother to Moreblessing.
“If there is anything that can never be welcome, it is death. What we could not handle was seeing our relative’s body in pieces, at the same time with children who should not have witnessed such a sight.
“You saw people fighting at our home, some were forcibly taken away, we have been chased away from her home. We have been barred from mourning her there. Yesterday people were beaten but today was worse, they came out in numbers, we are no longer at peace.”
Moreblessing was allegedly abducted by Pius Jamba, brother to Zanu PF district leader Simbarashe Chisango, two weeks ago. She was dragged into a bush at night, never to be seen alive again.
Further off, along Seke road, over 20 Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters, ambushed and besieged by two truckloads of suspected Zanu PF youths were contemplating reporting their abuse at St. Mary’s police station.
The driver was beaten, women “carefully” bashed around their ribs as the assailants made sure not to harm faces or kill them, as was done to Moreblessing, while mothers disembarked from other vehicles asking about children they had left when they fled.
Ali’s body, hacked into pieces lay in state at the Chitungwiza mortuary, awaiting post-mortem as alleged Zanu PF thugs battled to stop their CCC opponents from making a statement in an area regarded as “no-go” for opposition politics, an area Moreblessing had been encouraging voter registration and leading campaigns for leader Nelson Chamisa.
One of Moreblessing’s children said to have been affected by the sight of his mother’s dismembered body, developed a heart problem and is already seeking medical attention.
Added Wellington: “The experience these children have gone through is something else, even as old as I am, I had never seen someone cut up into pieces with body parts all over.
“We had to hold them as they left because they could not handle it. We do not even know the extent of trauma they have been subjected to.”
The alleged assailant is still at large.
The family, Monday vowed Moreblessing will not be buried until Jamba, Chisango and their mother Laina Mukandi had been arrested. Zimbabweans know of a similar story from Gokwe.
“They killed my sister, the best that they could have done was to leave us, so we mourn our sister,” said UK based Washington Ali, brother to Moreblessing.
“What we have decided as a family is that Moreblessing is not going to be buried until her killers are arrested.
“What has been done to our family by Zanu PF is unprecedented. They have however done it to the wrong family because we are going to fight.
“Moreblessing was a people person, Moreblessing was loved and now they have taken her away from us. This is wrong.”
Zanu PF MP for Seke rural, a Maoresa and his ward councillor for the area, a Masimbi, barred the CCC from mourning Moreblessing at her home.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Sunday warned politicians and lawyers from raising tempers of the bereaved and the public by inciting violence.
“The police reiterates that this is a callous and heinous crime of which all efforts will be made to ensure that suspects are brought to book without fail,” said the ZRP.
“However, any form of intimidation or threats under the guise of politics or social media antics are being monitored by the police. Politicians should not interfere with police investigations.”
The statement has been noted and rubbished by social media users who have been following the matter closely. They have argued the police was just being confrontational and should instead look for Moreblessing’s killers.
As the tug-of-war continues, alleged Zanu PF thugs maintain they do not want any CCC supporter at the funeral wake, there seems to be no end in sight for the Ali family’s enduring pain.