ZANU PF last week threw a lavish party to welcome back its official after he was released from jail, having spent 14 years behind bars for killing an MDC activist in the run-up to the 2002 general elections.
by GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
There was pomp and fanfare at the home-coming party when Eddie Munjanja of Munjanja village under Chief Nhema in Zaka Central was released from Mutimurefu Prison, a development that has irked the MDC.
Munjanja was convicted of murder with actual intent after he killed MDC activist, Atinos Mapingure in cold blood, during the 2002 presidential election campaign. His accomplice, only identified as Makeme, is still serving his 45-year jail term.
At the time, Munjanja was commander at a Zanu PF campaign base where opposition activists were routinely taken in for torture and “political re-orientation”.
The village head Phillip Munjanja, who is Eddie’s younger brother, defended the move, saying there was nothing wrong with welcoming a brother who was wrongly convicted. He went on to thank Zanu PF for the pledges and donations.
“I don’t have any remorse, neither am I moved by any complaints from haters and the opposition, because I feel my brother was wrongly implicated in that murder case. We are not going to offer any compensation to the bereaved family,” Munjanja said.
“In fact, I would like to thank Zanu PF supporters for making the event successful, and making my brother feel welcomed.”
But Harrison Mudzuri, former MDC legislator for Zaka Central, said: “It is not only abominable for Zanu PF to throw a hero’s welcome party for a murderer. In fact, it’s immoral and amoral, to say the least, for right minded people to slaughter a beast on such an occasion.”
He added: “The move promotes political violence and does not have a deterrent effect. From the reports I have received, fear has already gripped the whole district.”
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights communications officer, Kumbirai Mafunda, said they urge people to conduct themselves in a way that would not offend the aggrieved parties.
MDC party spokesperson Jacob Mafume castigated Zanu PF for throwing a party for the convicted murderer, saying it shows the party had not reformed.
“Zanu PF never thought about how the victims are going to live with trauma of what he did to them before his incarceration,“ he said.
Zanu PF Masvingo provincial secretary for information and publicity, Ronald Nava, said he would call the party offices in Zaka to confirm if it was a party or private family event.
The deceased’s family could not be reached for comment at the time of going to Press.
Zaka has recorded some of the worst incidences of political violence in the province since 2000. MDC party members have been murdered, maimed or displaced.
At one point, MDC party activists were locked up in their party office and petrol bombed at Jerera Growth Point in the run-up to the June 27, 2008 presidential election run-off.