Wednesday 19 September 2018
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2 months ago

Shot like a dog : Zimbabwe buries its post-election dead

5 August 2018: The four children of a fruit-seller gunned down by Zimbabwean soldiers in post-election violence wept uncontrollably at the sight of their father lying in a casket under a baking sun.

Ishmail Kumire, 41, was one of the six victims of Wednesday s bloody chaos, sparked when troops fired on opposition activists protesting alleged electoral fraud.

The father of four, known as Shuz , was buried Saturday in the village of Chinamhora, 45 kilometres (30 miles) northeast of Harare, watched by 200 mourners.

His fellow vendors swept into the yard of his home, packed into a minibus emblazoned with the words I am blessed , alighting drumming and dancing.

Women hunched over large cooking pots balanced on fires, preparing food for the mourners.

Kumire s death carries a bitter irony. According to his brother Steven Matope, the fruit-seller was not among the opposition protesters angrily claiming that the ruling ZANU-PF had stolen the election.

Instead, he was caught up in the violence because he had stayed at the scene of the protest to protect his fruit.

Ishmail was a vendor, he wasn t a political activist, Matope said.

He supported the ruling party -- but then, it s the same ruling party that has killed him.

His funeral came a day after ZANU-PF s President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared the winner of Zimbabwe s historic elections, the first since veteran autocrat Robert Mugabe was ousted by the military last year.

Mnangagwa had hailed the polls as a chance to consign to the past Mugabe s repressive 37-year rule, but Wednesday s crackdown was a brutal reminder of the violence of his era.

- Killing for no reason -

If the ruling party is killing the people it is supposed to govern, I don t know who it is going to rule. That s very painful, Matope added.

He was just selling his tomatoes, he said of his brother.

Kumire s brot

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