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Activist of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change Found Murdered

The MDC suspects the murder could be connected with an attack on Ncube during the 2008 elections by ZANU-PF militants who according to sources in the party were spotted at the Zhombe shopping center on Friday

The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Zimbabwean Industry Minister Welshman Ncube said Wednesday that its director of elections in Midlands province, abducted on Friday in Zhombe district, was found murdered on Tuesday with the body half buried in a shallow grave and his head covered with a sack.

The MDC said Maxwell Ncube was abducted late on Friday on his way home from a nearby shopping center in Malamulela village in Zhombe. His wife said she raised the alarm immediately after his abduction, but a follow-up by villagers with the assistance of the police did not yield anything until the discovery of his body.

Party spokesman Nhlanhla Dube tells VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri it is too early to point blame at anyone. But the party suspects the murder could be connected with an attack on Ncube during the 2008 elections by ZANU-PF militants. Sources said those ZANU-PF militants were seen at the Zhombe shopping center Friday.

A close friend and party colleague of the late Ncube, Nduna Nyoni, said the victim had received a number of threatening phone calls earlier. He said they suspect that he was killed because of his efforts to galvanize villagers against ZANU-PF rule.

Police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka said the force had received reports of a murdered village head in Zhombe, though not an MDC member. He could not be drawn to say whether the murder was politically-motivated saying investigations are under way.

Elsewhere, a Harare magistrate ruled on Wednesday that seven activists of the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai being held on charges of murdering a police official in Glen View in May should be attended to by government doctors.

A magistrate last week ordered the state to produce medical affidavits for the activists, who alleged that they had been battered while in police custody.

Attorney Jeremiah Bhamu of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, representing the MDC activists, said the state once again failed to produce the affidavits, prompting the magistrate to give the prosecution until August 17 to do so.

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