Returning refugee murdered by Zanu PF thugs

BIKITA – A Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party activist who had gone into exile in the run-up to last year’s bloody June 27 run-off elections was murdered upon his return home over the weekend, police and the legislator for the area, Heya Shoko, confirmed.

Bikita West Member of Parliament (MP) Shoko said Edwin Chingami (32), an ardent MDC supporter who was an election observer for the party at the initial March 29 harmonized elections, was killed at a funeral in Ward eight, Chirove village under chief Nhema over the weekend.

Chingami had fled the country for fear of retributive violence that had hit the country.

"He had come for the funeral wake of his niece when some ZANU PF youths started accusing him of being a sell-out who had fled the country. They started beating him up and witnesses said he fled but was hit by a stone on the head," Shoko said.

Provincial police spokesperson Inspector Phibion Nyambo confirmed the incident, but denied the murder was politically motivated.

"We received a report of murder at a funeral. The suspects were drunk as there was beer at the funeral wake. I have not heard that the victim was killed because of his political affiliation," said Inspector Nyambo.

But MDC-T provincial chairman, Wilstuff Sitemere confirmed that Chingami, a district youth chairperson, was murdered for campaigning for the MDC-T, as well as standing as the party’s elections observer.

"He was the target by ZANU PF youths aligned to former legislator Claudius Makova for vigorously campaigning for the MDC. They had told him that he will die whenever he returns, that’s why it took him so long to come back. But this time around, his relative had died and he had no option but come back. We sadly mourn his death, he is a martyr," Sitemere said.

Contacted for a comment, the Minister of National Healing, John Nkomo, said he was unaware of the incident. Nkomo however said that he would investigate the matter so that the culprits are dealt with harshly.

"As the national healing Ministry, we urge people to throw their political differences so that the country can move forward. We also urge the justice system to deal harshly with the perpetrators of fresh political violence," said Nkomo.