Shadow of death
LEGEND: Oliver Mtukudzi

I wasn’t following news and current affairs this past week as I was mourning and preparing to lay my maternal grandmother to rest.

She died last Tuesday evening at the age of 96 and was buried on Saturday.

But as most people at her funeral said, those of us who were close to her should be grateful she lived for that long and that we got to spend so much time with her. I couldn’t agree with them more.

And despite the tough economic hardships, I believe we managed to give her a dignified send off.

When I got back to Bulawayo on Tuesday morning, I browsed various news sites and social media for inspiration on what to write about for this column; my attention was drawn to two stories.

The first was about the release of the late Oliver Mtukudzi’s one-page will, in which he left everything to his wife. This means his children and other relatives will not get anything that belonged to the late legend.

The other story was about the memorial service of the late opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. Slated for this weekend, his family have said people should not come in party colours.

I guess burying my grandmother a few days back is the reason these two stories about death stood out for me.

This decision by the Tsvangiari family will likely set them and the party on a collision course as I foresee a situation where party members will defy the family and go to the gathering dressed in red.

One thing that can never be taken away from the late opposition leader is that he was a crowd puller, had charisma in abundance and was loved by his supporters.

I thus think his supporters would find it proper to go and remember their hero dressed in party regalia, most of which has his face on it! After all, the man was in the limelight because of his position as a party leader.

It would be unfortunate if the service is marred by chaos and clashes in the event that Movement for Democratic Change members show up in party regalia and colours.

In all fairness, I think the family should appreciate who Tsvangirai was and not dictate to people how they should dress for his memorial service, as this will cause unnecessary noise.

On the story of Mtukudzi’s will, I also anticipate court battles between his widow, Daisy and his children as well as relatives.

There were reports that some of his daughters and relatives had already positioned themselves to take over some of the properties including the arts centre, located in Norton, just outside Harare.

While there is a will, some of these people may contest it in the belief that they could not have been left out by their father, brother or uncle.

It’s a common occurrence for families and relatives to fight over a deceased person’s estate, regardless of whether there is a will or not. I have no doubt we will witness the same in the Mtukudzi family.

If the will is genuine, he obviously had his reasons for not leaving anything to his daughters, who he sired with other women, or his brothers and sisters.

It is well known that he never had a rosy relationship with his daughters but I guess to them that should not mean being cut off completely from their father’s estate.

It would actually be ironic if his family fights over his estate. One of Mtukudzi’s popular songs, ‘Neria’, is about the subject of inheritance, where he was consoling his sister who was being harassed by her late husband’s brother over the former’s estate!

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