Confusion still abounds over Jongwe’s death


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There was still confusion about how Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Learnmore Jongwe had died with police saying he had died from chloroquine poisoning but his family still blamed the government for his death.

The United States embassy commented: “Whatever the circumstances of Jongwe’s death, it is extremely unlikely that most opposition supporters will accept that he died at his own hand”.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 02HARARE2445, OFFICIAL JONGWE AUTOPSY RESULTS IDENTIFY POISONING

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE2445

2002-11-08 09:04

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 002445

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: OFFICIAL JONGWE AUTOPSY RESULTS IDENTIFY POISONING

AS CAUSE OF DEATH; POLICE SUGGEST SUICIDE

 

REF: HARARE 2321

 

1. (U) Learnmore Jongwe, former MDC spokesman and MP from

Kuwadzana, died from chloroquine poisoning, according to the

state run newspaper, The Herald. Jongwe was found dead in his

prison cell early in the morning of October 22 (See Reftel).

The police autopsy was performed on October 24. The Jongwe

family was able to delay the autopsy so that they could

secure an independent expert from South Africa to witness the

process and remove separate specimens for analysis. The

results of the independent autopsy were not known at the time

of the Herald report but a police spokesman announced that

the police were not interested in the independent findings.

 

2. (U) The police implied that Jongwe committed suicide

because a small bottle with one pill was found near Jongwe’s

body at the time of death and there were pieces of white

tablets in his vomit. Jongwe allegedly tried to commit

suicide earlier after allegedly fatally stabbing his wife in

July. The police spokesman announced on national television

on November 7 that the anti-malaria drug, chloroquine, was

often associated with suicide attempts.

 

3. (SBU) Nelson Chamisa, MDC National Youth Chairman and a

close friend of Jongwe, told us that the Jongwe family was

shocked with the government autopsy results. They had not

seen the results prior the announcement on ZBC on the evening

of November 7. According to Chamisa, the family still holds

the government responsible for Jongwe,s death because he was

in police custody at the time. (We understand from separate

sources that the South African pathologist’s initial findings

also indicated poisoning as the cause of death, but had not

yet completed the separate autopsy.) COMMENT: Whatever the

circumstances of Jongwe’s death, it is extremely unlikely

that most opposition supporters will accept that he died at

his own hand. END COMMENT.

SULLIVAN

(26 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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