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opposition activists murdered
Brian Ncube, ZimOnline
June 18, 2007
Two Zimbabwe opposition
activists abducted from the rural Matobo district by suspected state
secret agents were found dead last Thursday, in a development certain
to spread fear across the opposition supporting southern half of
the country. The battered bodies of Edward Ndiweni and Albert Sibanda,
who were both members of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC party, were
discovered by villagers dumped at an abandoned former white-owned
farm, about 15 kilometres from the deceased men's home village.
Police spokesman, Wayne
Bvudzijena, confirmed the discovery of the bodies of the murdered
MDC activists and said investigations into the matter were in progress.
"I can confirm that the two were found dead on Thursday...
police are still investigating the case and we hope we will be able
to account for those responsible," said Bvudzijena. However,
MDC Member of Parliament for Matobo, Lovemore Moyo, immediately
blamed the abduction and subsequent murder of the two activists
on agents of President Robert Mugabe's government which he said
was out to crush the opposition and all dissenting voices ahead
of elections next year. "It is unfortunate that the government's
intolerance of dissenting voices and its disrespect of the MDC as
an opposition party has led to this (murder of Ndiweni and Sibanda),"
and government spokesman, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, was not immediately
available for comment on the matter. Zimbabwe holds joint presidential
and parliamentary elections next year which some analysts have warned
the government could lose, citing an acute economic crisis and food
shortages fuelling public discontent against Mugabe and his ruling
ZANU PF party. Ndiweni, Sibanda and three other MDC activists were
abducted from their homes at different times on May 25 by six armed
men who were driving an unmarked red Toyota Corolla car that did
not have vehicle registration numbers. They were taken to a farm
not far from their homes but not the same one were the bodies of
the two murdered activists were found. For three days, the opposition
activists were severely assaulted and tortured by their captors
who accused them of campaigning for the MDC and seeking to topple
The rest of the MDC activists
were later released except for Ndiweni and Sibanda whose whereabouts
remained unknown until their bodies were found dumped at a farm.
Ndiweni and Sibanda, aged 39 and 42 respectively at the time of
their deaths, join a growing list of activists of the opposition
murdered by unknown people - but suspected to be members of the
government's feared Central Intelligence Organisation - since the
party's formation eight years ago. The MDC, which poses the greatest
threat to Mugabe's government in next year's elections, says state
security agents have abducted scores of its activists and arrested
others on false charges in a bid to cripple the party ahead of the
The Harare administration
denies targeting opposition activists for arrest and insists anyone
suspected of breaking the law is liable to arrest regardless of
their political affiliation.
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