WASHINGTON DC —
The family of the late Amos Midzi, a former Zimbabwe cabinet minister and ambassador to the United States, is blaming the ruling Zanu-PF party for driving him to his death.
Midzi’s sudden death Tuesday has been initially ruled a suicide. The former Zanu-PF Harare provincial chairperson, who was a strong ally of the ousted Vice President Joice Mujuru, was last month removed from his position after he was accused of fanning factionalism in the party and handed a five year suspension.
Police and pathologists have confirmed that the death of Midzi was suicide by poisoning after a preliminary autopsy report was released Wdnesday.
Family spokesman and brother of the deceased Dr. Stanley Midzi confirmed they had received the autopsy report,.
“The report that that we got is not a written report. It’s a verbal report that I got, when I met the forensic pathologist who did the post mortem. What he indicated is that from his initial findings, they did not find anything to suggest foul play, in terms of not finding any physical injuries on his body, as well as internal injury. What they did was to collect samples – what we call tissue samples - from several from a number of organs that have now been sent for toxicology analysis.”
Dr. Midzi though pointed a finger at Zanu-PF troubles for having stressed the late ambassador. Asked if his brother was distressed Dr. Midzi responded: “Oh, yes, for sure. You might be aware that my brother was one of the number of people who were affected by changes, developments that have been happening in the ruling party since last year, and for sure he was not spared those issues. But to make it worse, for my brother, this was the third round facing such enormous challenges. Our brother was betrayed by a system that he had worked for, for all of his life, which treated him unfairly, until this moment that led to the tragic outcome.”
Midzi was found unresponsive in his Ford Everest car at Munandi farm in Betriece Tuesday. The farm manager made a report to the police. The Zimbabwe Republic Police Beatrice together with Criminal Investigation Department homicide and pathologists attended the scene.
Some analysts though blasted the police for delaying to cordond off the scene saying anyone could have tampered with evidence.
Police insiders said the initial investigations Tuesday found in his car, “a one (1) litre container of a liquid, methanadophos which was three quarter full, dormicum tablets and a cup containing a bluish liquid were found in the vehicle. These harmful substances police claim is evidence that he took his own life.
The death of Midzi though has united the warring Zanu-PF factions and expelled members. Expelled Zanu-PF members Mujuru, former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and former spokesman Rugare Gumbo paid homage to Midzi at his Mount Pleasant home, joining their bitter rivals, Zanu-PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and the ruling party’s acting chairperson Godwills Masimirembwa who had replaced Midzi.
Masimirembwa described Midzi as a hard worker who worked wonders for the ruling party in the opposition stronghold of Harare. Expelled former Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo concurred with Masimirembwa saying, “What we can say certainly is that we have lost a strong party cadre.”
Gumbo said he last spoke to Midzi in December and was not qualified to comment on reports that he was showing signs of distress.
But will Midzi be declared a national hero having worked tirelessly for the party before his suspension? Masimirembwa responded saying, “We are carrying out consultations with members of the national consultative assembly, the Central Committee and Politburo in Harare.”
The National Heroes Acre or simply Heroes Acre is a burial ground and national monument in Harare. The 57-acre (230,000 m2) site is situated on a ridge seven kilometres from the capital. Its stated purpose is to"commemorate Patriotic Front guerrillas killed during the Rhodesian Bush War, and contemporary Zimbabweans whose dedication or commitment to their country justify their interment at the shrine."
The late Midzi's brother though says they are making their own plans as a family and they will bury him at a private cemetery in Harare. “I was able to buy a grave for him at Glen Forest, and all plans are proceeding well, so that we can lay my brother to rest in peace, this Saturday, at Glen Forest.”
Midzi becomes the third former cabinet minister to commit suicide after Edmund Garwe in 2001 and veteran nationalist Maurice Nyagumbo who died in 1989.
The late ambassador was born on July 4, 1952. He served in the cabinet successively as Minister of Energy and Power Development and Minister of Mines and Mining Development from 2002 to 2009.
Midzi was appointed as ambassador to the United States in 1993, before he was a member of the Zanu-PF Politburo. He ran as the ruling party’s candidate for mayor of Harare, in 2002, but was defeated by Elias Mudzuri of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
On August 25, 2002, he was appointed as Minister of Energy and Power Development; and subsequently Minister of Mines and Mining Development on February 9, 2004.
Midzi was later nominated as Zanu-PF's parliamentary candidate for Harare's Epworth constituency in the March 2008 parliamentary election. He was defeated by the MDC's Jembere Elias.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on January 3, 2009, that Midzi had been dismissed from the Cabinet earlier in the week, along with 11 other ministers, because he no longer held any seat in Parliament. Midzi bounced back as a member of the House of Assembly for Epworth in 2013.
But in his last days Midzi was under increasing pressure from his colleagues in the party who were pushing for his expulsion. In January this year, about 300 angry war veterans and residents of Harare South’s Hopley and Ushewekunze suburbs petitioned Midzi, Mbare Member of Parliament, Tendai Savanhu, and local lawmaker Shadreck Mashayamombe over allegations of promoting rape and corruption.
This was seen by critics as part and parcel of the ongoing factional fighting within Zanu PF as Midzi was an unapologetic ally of the ousted Mrs. Mujuru.
The petition alleged that the three legislators should be recalled from parliament on allegations of “promoting corruption, rape and thuggery which are against the principles of the party”.
Residents accused the heavy weights of illegally allocating residential stands in Mbare, Harare South and Epworth.