30 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Professor John Makumbe Laid to Rest

Photo: Charles Saki/RNW
Zimbabwe's late political analyst Professor John Makumbe.

Thousands of people travelled to Buhera West in Manicaland province Wednesday for the burial of University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Professor John Makumbe, who died at the weekend.

The 63 year fearless human rights campaigner and a prominent figure in Zimbabwe's civil society, died of a heart attack on Sunday. He was buried at his rural home in Marenga on Wednesday.

The outspoken critic of President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party was set to contest in the parliamentary race on an MDC-T ticket.

MDC-T national organizing secretary, Nelson Chamisa, said more than 5,000 people from all over the country attended the burial. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai gave a speech and there were solidarity messages from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president George Nkiwane and Bishop Magaya, representing the Christian Alliance.

There were also speeches from representatives of some of the organizations the civic leader worked with, such as the University of Zimbabwe and the anti-corruption organization - Transparency International Zimbabwe.

Family and friends described Makumbe as an outstanding individual who found humour in the most trying circumstances. They said he was a courageous man who was honest and spoke the truth as he saw it.

"It was indeed a good atmosphere. The church was there in a big way because he was a born again Christian and that really was a good indication of the man that he was," Chamisa said.

He added: "People were saying he was very humble and had helped virtually every sector of our society."

They said Makumbe's dream was to see real change and real transformation in Zimbabwe and that his spirit and desire for a new Zimbabwe would live on. The professor leaves behind his wife Virginia and three children.

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