Sombre atmosphere as hundreds welcome late Magaisa’s remains

HARARE – Late renowned academic and lawyer Alex Magaisa’s body arrived home this Saturday afternoon to a sombre welcome by hundreds of mourners who included opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa.

The much-loved former advisor to late ex-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s body touched down at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport shortly before 3pm aboard an Ethiopian Airways flight.

Even after arrival, mourners endured over two hours of waiting in the chilly weather as family members went through the final formalities of repatriating his remains with immigration authorities.

Despite the presence of the country’s biggest opposition leader and the political labels the state has attached to events following his death, there was no visible police presence in the midst of the event.

Except for few occasions when activists sang in praise of Chamisa, mourners kept the choice of songs to funeral ones as they waited for clearing formalities to go through.

Chamisa did not make any public address of mourners but could be seen occasionally commiserating with and chatting to some mourners.

The opposition chief however took to Twitter to express his feelings about the event.

“AT THE AIRPORT.. Just to receive and welcome Dr Alex Magaisa. Wangu is now back home. The Citizens Hero, Out Change Champion deserves all the honour! Life is puzzle!” Chamisa said.

A towering figure in the country’s tiring fight for democracy, Magaisa’s return in a body box was a touching reminder of late Tsvangirai’s emotional arrival in the country following his sad demise in a South African hospital February 2018.

Soon after his remains were cleared, Magaisa’s body was wheeled in a Nyaradzo hearse that was accompanied by a large convoy to the funeral service provider’s premises along Herbert Chitepo Street just on the peripheries of Harare’s CBD.

Friends and relatives are expected to throng the Harare Showgrounds this Sunday morning where a memorial has been organised for the former Kent University law lecturer.

Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of breaking family protocol limiting media interviews to designated persons, a relative said Magaisa would be buried in rural Njanja on a date set to be announced later.

Magaisa succumbed to a heart ailment June 5 in his United Kingdom base. He was 46.

His sad demise was a culmination of a chronic ailment the constitutional law expert went open about as early as 2013.

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