Harare, January 29, 2013 – Professor John Makumbe (64) who collapsed at his home on Sunday and later died at a Harare Hospital is due for burial in his Buhera home town.
A memorial service was also due in Harare on Tuesday before Makumbe’s body is transported to his village.
He was a founder of the exiled Radio Voice of the People and a political analyst and lecturer as well as critic of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe.
At the time of his death, he was working towards entering mainstream politics with plans to contest parliamentary elections this year, on the ticket of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party.
Even as activists and political opponents were targeted by the Harare regime, Makumbe fearlessly lashed out at Mugabe in independent newspaper columns and in analytical comments to journalists.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights praised Makumbe for his “contribution to fighting injustice, standing up to dictatorship.”
Makumbe’s colleague at the university, Lovemore Madhuku, said “he was courageous to face authorities, criticising their bad deeds.”
As an albino, Makumbe also campaigned against the discrimination and persecution of people with albinism in many African countries.
US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton, said he always respected ideas and opinions expressed by the late Makumbe although he did not agree with them.
“And I loved his sense of humour and his laugh,” said Wharton. “He demanded critical though of himself and those around him, and leaves a legacy of thoughtful analysis that will inform and enrich Zimbabwe for years to come.”
Makumbe is survived by his wife Virginia and three children. – Radio VOP/AFP