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Zimbabwe war veteran leader dies Home

Chenjerai Hunzvi
The leader of Zimbabwe's war veterans, Chenjerai Hunzvi,
has died in in hospital in the capital, Harare

June 4, 2001

Zimbabwe's State media confirmed the death of Chenjerai Hunzvi a few hours ago, following days of rumours, but did not say what he died from.

Chenjerai Hunzvi rose to prominence as head of Zimbabwe's War Veterans Association.

The 51-year-old collapsed last month in a hotel in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city.

Zimbabwe's leading independent newspaper said that he was suffering from "suspected cerebral malaria".

The AP news agency said that in recent weeks, Mr Hunzvi, a Polish-trained medical doctor, had shown signs of disorientation and rapid weight loss.

The Zimbabwe's War Veterans Association spearheaded last year's farm invasions that raised the political temperature in Zimbabwe.

He was effectively the head of a private army fighting - often literally - for President Robert Mugabe's land reforms.

Most recently he was said to have commanded attacks on about 200 factories and businesses by militants claiming to be acting on behalf of the employees.

In 1997 Mr Hunzvi led his supporters in a campaign to secure pensions from the government in recognition of their contribution to the liberation war.

The war veterans took to the streets and, in an early indication of their contempt for the law, went on to stage a protest inside the High Court.

The invasions of white-occupied farms began, with thousands of protesters organised by the War Veterans leadership.

In the election, Mr Hunzvi himself was voted in as a member of parliament.

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