Makumbe, gone too soon

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s doyen of freedom of speech, rights of the disabled and witty political analyst John Makumbe has gone too soon.

We join the nation in mourning the “white man from Buhera” and we all agree that Makumbe was one kind of Zimbabwean whose shoes will be difficult to fill if ever there will be pretenders.

For journalists across the divide, he was easily accessible and would provide incisive and well-thought out comments.

Makumbe never minced his words when asked to offer his opinion on the country’s political landscape and being a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe made him a key figure in Zimbabwe’s socio-political discourse.

Most of the political scientists in our midst today were in one way or another shaped by Makumbe or are direct products of his great teachings.

His humour and wit left many in awe as to how this man — who could have chosen to drown himself in his sorrow of being an albino — took life so simply.

The albino society in Zimbabwe has lost a hero who fought gallantly to make sure they not only have access to medication but are recognised as normal people without being judged on the basis of their skin colour.

That he had decided to ditch his academic cap to join full-time politics and contest the next elections would have been a plus for Zimbabwe. But it was not to be.

We would have loved to see how he would have fared in the august house. There is little doubt that the House of Assembly would never have been the same with him in the midst.

Makumbe held no punches and would go; haikona kudzora tsvimbo nekuti gudo rabata kumeso (do not hold the rod back just because the baboon is whimpering).

He would draw applause from both friends and foes, telling it like it is even when it came to the party of his choice Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC.

Zimbabwe is now poorer without him and we sincerely hope that those that went through his political mill would have taken a bit of his intellect to help take the country out of the rut we find ourselves in.

For his fight, in emancipating albinos, Makumbe is definitely a hero — a hero of democracy and good governance.

Go well son of the soil. May his soul rest in eternal peace. - Staff Writer

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