A week after its historic presidential elections, Zimbabweans have begun mourning the dead as seven people lost their lives on Wednesday, August 1, when the military opened fire on protesters in the streets of the capital Harare.
Opposition supporters had come out to protest the long wait for the election results, which they feared were being manipulated. This weekend, friends and relatives of those who had died in the clashes gathered to mourn their loved ones.
Draped in white lace and accompanied by mourners crying and singing, Sylvia Maphosa’s coffin was heaved into the funeral van. “She was killed by the criminals in the government,” one man cried through a car window, as the convoy made its way to the cemetery. The civil servant, Sylvia Maphosa, was shot in the back. She was trying to make her way home after leaving her office at the Zimbabwe National Water Authority in Harare’s city center.
According to her family’s lawyer, police initially recorded the cause of her death as a stab wound. After protest from her family, the police corrected it to gunshot wound. Apart from the man in the car, however, nobody at the funeral talked about who was to blame for her death.
Vegetable seller and father of four, Ishmael Kumire, had a similar fate. “He was standing five meters from me and suddenly I heard gunshots. I thought they were firing rubber bullets,” Kumire’s brother-in-law Ignatious Neshava said. According to him, Kumire even supported the ruling party. He had been trying to protect his goods when the soldiers came. President Emmerson Mnangagwa called the death of the seven people a tragedy and called for an independent investigation into Wednesday’s events.