There is a Shona adage that says death clears away the evil that people might have done during their lifetime — Wafa wanaka — but the demise of Zanu PF Mudzi West MP, Aqualinah Katsande last week appears to have defied this age old saying.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Katsande’s death has ignited debate on the deeds of the woman whom many claim was personally behind some of the acts of political violence that rocked Mudzi district in 2008.
Katsande died last Saturday due to kidney and heart complications. Her death was met with mixed reactions with her colleagues from Zanu PF saying the country had lost a hero, while those from the opposition MDC-T accused her of masterminding violent attacks on opponents.
Katsande, together with another legislator from Mashonaland East, were reportedly implicated in political violence in Mudzi in the run-up to the 2008 elections, including being accomplices in the murder of 67-year-old MDC-T activist Cephas Magura.
Zanu PF legislator for Maramba-Pfungwe Washington Musvaire, who sat with Katsande in the Mines and Energy Portfolio Committee since 2008, spoke glowingly about the late MP saying she was a great mobiliser for the party.
“Her death is a big loss, not only for the Mudzi people, but the whole Mashonaland East province and the party Zanu PF,” Musvaire said.
“She was determined, and was a great mobiliser for the party. Although she was not very well-educated, Katsande had political acumen to the extent that she would beat contestants with university degrees during elections. In Parliament, we learnt a lot from her ability to listen to other people and spearheading developmental projects in her constituency.”
Glen View North MP Fani Munengami was one of the MPs who once demanded Katsande’s arrest for the murder of MDC-T activists when the issue was debated in the National Assembly.
Surprisingly however, last week he had nice words to describe Katsande.
“In terms of being social, she was a good woman. In as far as the work of the Mines and Energy Portfolio Committee was concerned during the Seventh Session of Parliament (2009 to 2013), Katsande together with current deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mabel Chinomoma were the most vocal women,” Munengami said.
“They contributed in making the committee — then chaired by the late MP Edward Chindori Chininga, one of the best committees ever.”
But, MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora who also served as MP together with Katsande did not mince his words.
“I think Katsande was very passive in Parliament such that I cannot remember much of her contribution. However, what we [MDC-T] will remember her most for is that she was implicated in a number of MDC-T activist murders together with some MPs currently in Parliament. As a party, we will continue to call for justice for those victims,” Mwonzora said.
“I do not think we should lie and try to speak glowingly about a person because they have died. We are talking here of the murder of innocent men and women in the Murewa, Mutoko and Mudzi areas and I still remember her gang — most of whom are still alive, and they must face justice.”
He said MPs should be the champions of democracy and instil the culture of tolerance and an end to political violence.
“It is a pity she has passed on, but we will continue to call for justice for the families of the victims. We want justice to prevail and those politicians notorious for killing people must be brought to book,” Mwonzora said.