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Renowned Academic Professor Makumbe Laid to Rest

More than 800 people gathered at the Makumbe homestead in Matsveru village in Buhera district to pay their last respects to Professor John Makumbe, a renowned academic and human rights campaigner who died a few days ago.

Addressing mourners, MDC founding president and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai praised Professor Makumbe for playing a critical role in the development of the country's new draft constitution, a document, he said, brings Zimbabwe closer to democracy, as it guarantees basic freedoms.

Mr. Tsvangirai said Professor Makumbe served as an advisor to his party on the constitution.

Tsvangirai said Professor Makumbe, who intended to contest the Buhera West constituency on an MDC-T ticket, strongly opposed corruption.

The prime minister urged those intending to contest in his party’s primary elections to select parliamentary candidates who shun vote buying, calling the practice undemocratic.
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Chief Makumbe urged traditional leaders not to encourage their people to engage in violence ahead of the impending referendum on the new constitution and elections.

Professor Chewe, who spoke on behalf of University of Zimbabwe Vice chancellor Levy Nyagura, said Zimbabwe had lost a renowned scholar in Professor Makumbe, a lecturer of political administration at the UZ.

Mavambo Kusile Dawn, founder Simba Makoni, also heaped praise on Professor Makumbe, calling him a unifier.

Others who attended Makumbe’s burial included several politicians, academics and representatives of civil society. Zanu PF members were notably absent.

Born on May 6, 1949 in Buhera, John Mudiwa Washe Makumbe, a political commentator, educator, writer and activist, was well known for his candid and no-holds-barred criticism of Zanu PF and any form of injustice.

Makumbe is former head of the anti-corrupution watchdog, Transparency International Zimbabwe, and a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe.

In 1996, Makumbe, an albino himself, founded the Zimbabwe Albino Association (ZIMAS), advocating and helping to dispel the myths surrounding the condition in Zimbabwe.

Last year, Makumbe announced his intention to run for political office, as Member of Parliament for Buhera West, a move praised by many in Zimbabwe.

Makumbe leaves behind a wife and three children.