Rare voice of sanity Professor John Makumbe dies

Professor John Makumbe has died at 63

By Violet Gonda
27 January 2013

Outspoken political analyst and highly respected academic, John Makumbe, has died.

MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told SW Radio Africa that Makumbe, who was a key member of his party, died at Arcadia Medical Centre in Harare on Sunday morning after suffering a suspected heart attack.

He is survived by his wife, Virginia, and three children – Tapiwa, Simba and Rumbidzai.

Late last year, the University of Zimbabwe professor announced he was going to take a break from teaching to contest in the forthcoming general elections as an MDC-T candidate for Buhera West constituency in Manicaland province.

He told SW Radio Africa, shortly after his announcement last November, that he had been, “doing a lot of talking and now it is time to show that I can also walk the walk.”

Makumbe said: “There are various ways of emancipating Zimbabwe from the tyrannical system of government we have endured under ZANU PF. You can either make noise from your white castle or you can put on your boots and overalls and fight for the emancipation of the country.”

Mwonzora said Makumbe was a “hero of the democratic struggle” in Zimbabwe and the MDC-T owes the success of the constitution making process to his wisdom as he was the technical adviser for the party.

Tributes are pouring in for the man who many have described as “a rare voice of sanity” in Zimbabwe.

Journalist Farai Sevenzo said: “Makumbe was a rare act – a walking talking thinking advert against prejudice and tyranny.
He had a forensic analytical mind that came with charm and a disarming sense of humour, which made the task of interviewing him never boring. A big loss.”

Zimbabwean Glen Mpani said, “Professor’s commitment to a free Zimbabwe was unquestionable. His untimely death before achieving what he dedicated his life for, should spur those who remain to make his dream a reality.”

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights director Irene Petras said: “The white man from Buhera has gone too soon.”
“He was one of the few outspoken voices of conscience remaining in the academic community and a much loved member of the civil society. His wit, intellect and humour ensured that he and those around him were able to survive troubled times and remain resolute to the struggle for a better Zimbabwe.”

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23 Responsesto “Rare voice of sanity Professor John Makumbe dies”

  1. Mac Kapfumba says:

    Another Hero has gone so soon,rest in peace John.

    • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

      Zvinonzi nevakuru wafa wanaka. My only observation is that the late Makumbe was an outspoken for the wrong reasons and a political activist who can not be described as a highly respected academic. My argument is that a political activist and a professor at any university should have known of the power games that are being played by super powers in their bid to dominate and to have a say in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe. The proliferation and mushrooming of the so-called human rights groups in Zimbabwe is not by accident but for one singular purpose which is to control the mind of the Zimbabwe people. A highly respected academic could have noted this but he did not. If anything he joined the MDC-T, a political party that is being financed and funded by foreign powers to unseat a legitimate government. He did not understand that the country was under siege and being punished by a foreign power that was in the fore front for hundred of years in the plundering of the human and natural resources of Zimbabwe. Any academic worthy his name can easily see why the country is in the predicament it is at the present moment, but alas Professor Makumbe could not see these glaring problems the country is in. He was a fierce exponent against the land resettlement program and was totally against the indigenisation of the Zimbabwean economy, preferring the present set-up where almost 80 per cent of the economy is owned and controlled by foreigners. And he was a professor at one of the best institutions in the country. Oh, no no Gosh Aah, he was not that good guys. You can shower him with praise, guys, but he was a foolish professor.

      All the same, wafa wanaka, he can rest in peace.

      • Chop says:


        • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

          Meaning what, mate. Just be simple, precise and to the point. The last time I checked my Oxford and Collins dictionaries, the term ‘tonsical’ does not exist.

      • Common Sense says:

        Again, each can have there own views… but you expose yourself here quite simply when you refer to the human rights groups as vehicles for foreign powers to exercise their takeover of the ‘regime’.

        Did it ever occur to you that the human rights groups sprang up because Zimbabwe actually NEEDED help from the tyranny and abuse of the ZANU-PF machine?

        ZPF abused their position for too many years, and cannot stand it that the majority of people no longer like them… and that wasn’t because some super-power brainwashed them… they had had enough first hand

        • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

          Sprang up from where? You need to be more analytic than that mate. It is all about mind control of the people. It is no different from the origins of your political party, the MDC. It is all about the installation of a political leader who is best placed to serve the interests of foreign powers. Remember these guys used to plunder our human and natural resources or at best for nothing and since independence in 1980, there is a limit over what they can get for nothing from Zimbabwe. When you are used to getting things for free or for nothing, there is always the urge to do it again next time around. It is human nature.

          Remember when slaves were emancipated in the United States there was a war between those who wanted slaves to be free and those who did not. Their argument was if slaves were to be emancipated, who was going to work in their sugar and cotton plantations to bring wealth to the plantation owners. There was a bitter war over this problem which was to last for over six years because the southerners who were largely the slave owners in the United States could not let go free labor from the freed slaves. The same principle applies to Zimbabwe. Human and natural resources of the country which used to be exploited free of charge or for nothing is no longer guaranteed because the Mugabe government has tightened its grip of power. But their view is that they will have to get it somehow even if it means using arms of war by using some proxies in the country to achieve this goal. And they are using the so-called human rights groups and your political party, MDC to achieve this aim. The good thing is that we are very much aware of the power and control games being played and we are ready for it.

          • Muktar Sayad says:

            Get yourself fucked that is all I can say of you monkey

          • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

            I have posted a response to the above statement which has no foundation. It is being moderated by SW Radio Africa and you should be able to read it when they make a decision, hopefully soon.

  2. Anonymous says:

    A truly great man. Our hearts go out to his family. He was always a living hero in my heart. His courage was an inspiration to us all. He will be sorely missed. He has left a legacy for us all to follow and we must fight harder to bring his dream of a free Zimbabwe to fruition.

    May his soul rest in peace

  3. Anonymous says:

    A big loss to Zimbabwe, his strong character and sense of humor was inimitable. He undressed Prof Madhuku at a constitutional conference in Harare in 2011 resulting in Prof Madhuku admitting that throughout his entire life he had never been confronted, challenged and defeated in such an intellectual, factual and honest manner. Makumbe was many things in one, I have no doubt he loved Zimbabwe and for that reason, though he is dead he will continue to speak to us to soldier on. You can’t remember Makumbe and fail to be inspired to speak out and challenge tyranny and i justice

  4. Anonymous says:

    Vanhu vakanaka havararame pachokwadi. VaMakumbe vakadzidzisa vanhu vemuZimbabwe vakawanda pane zvakawanda. Murume uyu anga ane mwoyo munyoro wokubatsira nyika yake. Anga azvipira kusiya basa raka rourairidzi kuti andosunungura vanhu veBuhera asi zvakundikana. Mwari aita kuda kwake. Tinoti zororai murugare VaMakumbe. Rest in peace .

  5. Elvic says:

    rest in peace.

  6. wilbert_mukori says:


  7. super mondo says:

    only brave men speak their minds.when oppressed

  8. GBZ says:

    JOHN, a man of faith in God. For you my Brother in Christ..Phillipians 4:8-9

    8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

    I have no idea why the Lord took him now, but all is significant and His Will will prevail. Go be with your Lord Brother, and may your wife and family be blessed with the peace of God which is beyond our understanding.

  9. Yepec says:

    When profanities are used against the Zanoids, they cry unfair but when they use them on those with whom they disagree with, they smile and talk of profound intellect. Does anybody remember the writings of Chimbwido Warvet and the comments of Joseph Chinotimba?

    Farewell professor John Makumbe, rest in peace. Your untimely departure robs the country of one more of its fiercest and gallant fighters against tyranny and dictatorship. At least, true activists are happy that you can never be under Zanu PF’s propaganda of selling poison coated as a sweets to the population of Zimbabwe.

    • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

      Come on Yepec, I have only said what I know of the late Makumbe. If this is what you term as profanities, then I am sorry that there is nothing I can do about telling the world the truth. I am the truth but I am also aware there are others vying for my blood. I am not worried about it even if it means I die for telling the world the truth so be it. I am now almost sixty years old and prepared for anything, mate.

  10. jiji says:

    gone too soon

  11. Chimbwidos Warvets says:

    You can delete my work but it does not change a thing. We are aware of the power and control games being employed in Zimbabwe.

  12. MZ says:

    Even if John Makumbe wanted to be an MP in my home area Dete in Matabeleland North, the wave of sanity in this area was going to support him. You know the’ wave of sanity’ lm referring to. He was just a fearless man! HZ

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