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Mixed feelings over state assistance for Elvis Nyathi funeral

The granting of a state-assisted funeral to the late Elvis Nyathi by the Zimbabwean government has elicited mixed emotions with some opposition political parties saying the state must strive to create opportunities that prosper life rather than pay for funeral costs.

On Wednesday, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, confirmed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa accorded a state-assisted funeral to Nyathi, who was burnt to death in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg in what has been described as an act of xenophobia.

ZAPU national spokesperson, Msongwela Ndlovu said under normal circumstances, the government should be commended but, in this case, it was responsible for causing the suffering of Zimbabweans in and out of the country.

“News reaching us is that Mnangagwa has granted Elvis Nyathi a state-assisted funeral. Under normal circumstances, we should be grateful and commend the government. But as ZAPU, if indeed true, we find this gesture an insult to every Zimbabwean. A government must provide state-assisted life not a funeral,” he told CITE.

Ndlovu highlighted that a government must create opportunities that better the lives of its citizens.

“The government must never be an undertaker or a funeral parlour. It should provide opportunities to its citizens to thrive and prosper in their country of birth. The grand deception of earning credit for man-made problems must be exposed for what it is, a political fraud,” said the party spokesperson.

However, the Council for Churches in Africa (CCA), made up of several indigenous churches, partners, affiliate organisations and entities welcomed the gesture.

“This state-assisted funeral grant has come as a relief to both families, relatives, friends and other authorities who had faced difficulties in repatriation of the late Elvis Nyathi’s remains,” CCA’s Department of Regional Justice, Peace and Conflict Resolution Affairs in a press statement.

“According to its citizens who have faced several challenges including the relief accorded to the Nyathi family is the true definition for contemporary leadership that Africa needs and a signal of caring government or administration.”

As indigenous churches representatives’ body in Africa, CCA urged all its affiliate churches and partners to assist their respective governments so that its duties and services to the citizens were realised.

“The Zimbabwean government set a good example by extending such a gesture during this period when the bereaved need assistance,” said the religious organisation, which also condemned xenophobic sentiments made against Africans.

“The attack on African Brothers and Sisters is against the founding principles and values of Ubuntu which indigenous churches have advocated for since time immemorial. Africa needs to unite in the same spirit that churches endeavour to bridge the gaps of divisions, and as CCA’s department of Regional Justice, Peace and Conflict Resolution Affairs, we will strive to use the resources that we have in making sure that peace will become a reality in some sections rather than a rhetoric.”

CCA’s Department of Regional Justice, Peace and Conflict Resolution Affairs noted it also sought to remove narratives that divide indigenous churches’ role in preaching peace.

“Hate speech and violence remain the major problems in Africa and as churches, we will strive to preach peace and craft initiatives that seek to unite rather than divide,” said the religious organisation.

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