26 May 2008

Zimbabwe: MdDC Activist Tonderai Ndira Given Heroes Burial

MDC activist Tonderai Ndira, who was murdered by militants loyal to Robert Mugabe, was buried at the Warren Hills Cemetary in Harare on Sunday. Ndira was abducted on the 14th May but his body was only discovered on 22nd May, in the morgue at Parirenyatwa hospital. Activists from various civil society groups and the leadership of the MDC were present at the funeral. Party president Morgan Tsvangirai presided over the burial telling gathered mourners; 'This is a clear testimony of the callousness of this regime. They can kill us. They can maim us. But we are going on the 27th of June, our hearts dripping with blood, to vote him (Mugabe) out of office.'

National Constitutional Assembly Spokesman Madock Chivasa attended the funeral and told Newsreel that Ndira had a fitting send off. Mourners had gathered at his Mabvuku house and departed for the cemetery in a convoy of cars with MDC flags, and with a police escort. But it looked as if the intention of the police was to ensure the convoy did not go through the city centre. They directed the convoy to a different route to the cemetery, going through Cranborne and Mbare before finally reaching the Warren Hills.

Tsvangirai ended his self-imposed exile to ensure he was present at Ndira's funeral. The party leader had delayed his return after details of a plot to kill him were unearthed. With Tsvangirai now back in the country Chivasa noted how activists said they felt safer with him around. At a previous funeral for slain MDC activists Godfrey Kauzani and Cain Nyevhe, over 300 Zanu PF thugs had created serious disruption at the same cemetery. Chivasa said Tsvangirai's presence might have prevented similar scenes occurring.

Ndira's death shocked the pro-democracy movement into the realisation that the Mugabe regime is assassinating key MDC activists and officials. It had originally been believed that Ndira had been tortured, due to the state of the body. But an autopsy has shown this was not the case, much to the relief of the family. The physical damage was done by the advanced state of the decomposition, which indicated that he must have been killed very soon after his abduction. The preliminary report of the autopsy could find no cause of death, leading to credible speculation that Ndira had been suffocated. This was apparently a common form of murder in the apartheid years in South Africa, as it leaves no physical signs. But this also means that he was not abducted so that he could be intimidated. He was directly targeted for assassination.

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