Zimbabweans from all walks of life converged Monday at the Mount Pleasant, Harare, home of the late orthopedic surgeon Dr. Chris Mushonga, 73, who succumbed Saturday to injuries sustained in a June invasion of his home by seven gun-wielding assailants.
Mushonga, husband of Regional Integration and International Cooperation Minister Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, was well known for operating on the country's poor without charge and for supporting the democratic movement in the country.
President Robert Mugabe led mourners with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.
Mushonga was instrumental in early efforts to launch the Movement for Democratic Change, opening his house to meetings, providing funds to the organization and food to activists just as he did during the liberation struggle of the 1970s.
Mr. Mugabe told mourners about Dr. Mushonga’s assistance to his guerrilla movement during the liberation conflict ending with Zimbabwean independence in 1980. He said Dr. Mushonga would be given a state funeral in recognition of his fight for majority rule in the country.
The family asked President Mugabe to see that justice is served for Dr. Mushonga by bringing to book those who assaulted and robbed him. Seven men have been arrested and charged with the attempted murder of Dr. Mushonga.
Dr. Mushonga, a former deputy mayor of Harare for the MDC, is survived by his wife and nine children, all from previous marriages. He is to be buried on Friday in Chishawasha, in Mashonaland East province.
His only surviving brother, Zacharia Mushonga, told reporter Sandra Nyaira of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the doctor’s death was a major blow to the family.
Nairobi-based political analyst Brian Kagoro, who worked with Dr. Mushonga in the early days of the MDC, told VOA that with the passing of the physician, Zimbabwe has lost a virtuous man who fought corruption at every turn.