Minister’s husband dies after attack in June
By Violet Gonda
17 August 2009
Dr Chris Mushonga, the husband of Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the Minister of Regional Integration and International Cooperation, died at his home in Harare at 11pm on Saturday, after succumbing to injuries sustained in a vicious attack two months ago. Dr Mushonga is expected to be buried on Friday at his rural home in Chishawasha, about 20km outside Harare.
His brother Zacharia said that the principals in the power share, Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, were among the mourners who went to pay their last respects at the deceased’s Mt Pleasant home on Monday.
The brother said the family is devastated to lose their father figure and a man who was loved by all for his generosity and kindness. He said the family did not believe the attackers were just robbers, but said that they suspect ‘politics at play.’
A gang of seven men broke into the prominent orthopaedic surgeon’s Harare home in mid June and brutally assaulted him, journalist Michelle Hakata (a family friend who had been visiting from the UK) and Maria Mandizha, their domestic helper. An armed police officer and a gardener had been brutally assaulted and tied up before the gang descended upon the three in the main house.
The elderly Dr Mushonga, who is in his 70’s, never fully recovered from head injuries sustained after being beaten with rifle butts. The alleged robbers assaulted the three victims for several hours, before locking them up and fleeing with one of the Mushongas’ cars. The brand new stolen Prado was later found dumped near Waterfalls in Harare.
A family spokesperson also told SW Radio Africa that Maria Mandizha is still in critical condition.
Seven men have since been arrested and speculation has been rife that the attack was politically motivated. A source close to the Mushongas, and speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “Robbers usually quickly rob and get away. But these people were there for several hours, ransacking the entire house and beating up an old defenseless man. If their mission was to steal, why would they have left the brand new car untouched, except for using up the fuel? And to my knowledge none of the victims were called to identify the suspects at a police line up, so how is it the police were quick to arrest and publish the suspects’ pictures in the state media when the victims never identified them?”
Zacharia Mushonga confirmed on SW Radio Africa that it was not robbery. “A thief does not come into someone’s house, beat up people and be in the same house for three hours playing music, drinking and smoking in the house.” The brother said the gang did not take anything else except for the victims’ cell phones, because they didn’t want them to communicate with the outside world. He said: “The laptops, the plasma televisions, the home theatres were all intact. I don’t call that robbery that would be lies.”
Mr. Mushonga said he talked to Mugabe about the family’s concerns and Mugabe said he was going to consult the chief of police. But in the current climate many crimes are going unchecked and in many cases there is no such thing as justice or the rule of law.
The attack happened while Minister Misihairabwi-Mushonga was on a ‘re-engagement tour’ of western countries with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Her husband was a highly respected surgeon and a political activist, who helped fundraise for the freedom fighters during the liberation war, from his base in America. He was also a former Deputy Mayor of Harare.
Dr Mushonga is survived by his wife Priscilla and his 9 children.