Death of a whistle-blower
The sad fate of an election official who dared to challenge Mugabe's methods
The discovery of the semi-burned body of Ignatious Mushangwe this weekend, on waste ground in the town of Norton, is a salutary lesson for those who would dare to challenge the corrupt election-rigging tactics of President Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party.
Today members of the family of Mushangwe, formerly a senior official in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), are mourning his death. But my source within Zanu-PF told me that his fate was sealed back in June, when he challenged the abuse of postal votes by the ruling party, in the run-up to the last Presidential election.
"The boys were ordered to deal with him very fast," my source said. "Time was running out."
Mushangwe first incurred Mugabe's wrath when, 10 days before the poll, he claimed that postal votes issued to police officers and other militia members were being used to rig the election in favour of Zanu-PF.
My source told me: "Zanu-PF wanted all police officers, including trainees and recruits, to be given postal ballots. Mushangwe said that postal ballots should only be issued to police officers on duty on election day."
Mushangwe later announced publicly that ZEC had printed 600,000 postal ballot forms, when less than 10,000 were actually required. He also revealed that some 9 million normal ballot papers had been printed, for only 5.9 million registered voters.
The release of this evidence of government corruption was enough to seal his fate. He was kidnapped from his home on June 17. On Saturday his body was discovered in Norton, a satellite town to the north-west of Harare.
A post mortem has reported that Mushangwe had been first strangled, then doused in petrol and set alight. Another brutal crime to be laid at the door of President Robert Mugabe.