Family, friends and colleagues of Maxwell Ncube, a Midlands official of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Welshman Ncube slain last week for suspected political motives, gathered in Zhombe on Wednesday for an outpouring of grief and anger.
Friends and relatives expressed anger over Ncube’s murder as well as the way police have handled the case, focusing on relatives rather than political adversaries.
Ncube was buried in his village of Ntenezi, Zhombe district, Midlands.
An angry Obert Zololo Moyo, Ncube’s uncle, told mourners that Ncube’s murder was tantamount to a declaration of war on the family. He said his prayer is that the truth about Ncube’s death be revealed and those responsible be punished.
Ncube’s body was found August 9 in a ditch a few hundred yards from his homestead, wrapped in a sack, his head bearing the trauma of what appeared to be an axe blow.
Ncube, a local headman and Zhombe district elections director for the Ncube MDC wing, had gone missing several days earlier and was last seen at a business center in nearby Malamulela village. Party associates believe he was murdered by ZANU-PF militants, perhaps some of the same who assaulted him during the 2008 elections.
The Ncube MDC and the rival formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, along with civil society organizations, say serious political violence is on the rise.
The Tsvangirai MDC formation said ZANU-PF militants in Magunje, Mashonaland West province, burned the homes of four members of the party.
For perspective on the perceived rise in politically motivated violence, reporter Violet Gonda turned to Tsvangirai MDC legislator Thabitha Khumalo, a member of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee set up to track compliance with the Global Political Agreement, and political analyst Gabriel Chaibva, aligned with ZANU-PF.
Khumalo said political violence continued even after the February 2009 formation of the national unity government. Chaibva charged that the two MDCs in alleging violence are seeking to convey the impression of instability every time there is a regional summit.
The Southern African Development Community concluded a summit this week in which regional leaders noted Zimbabwean progress toward setting election dates.
Many observers believe violence is on the rise because elections are in prospect. The last elections in 2008 were marred by deadly violence and their outcome disputed.