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Compensation demand delays burial

Blessing Zulu

THE saga of Stephen Tonera, a former employee of opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP Roy Bennett, has taken another twist with the police saying the relative

s of the deceased were refusing to bury his body.

Last week police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said he doubted the authenticity of reports that Tonera had been murdered or that his body was still in the mortuary.

Tonera was allegedly beaten to death by suspected state agents after the March 18/19 MDC-organised mass stayaway. He died on March 20 on Bennett’s farm in Ruwa.

Bvudzijena this week confirmed that Tonera’s body was still at the mortuary.

“Last time I checked with Ruwa police station but the case was handled by Epworth police station,” said Bvudzijena.

“I can confirm that the body is still at Harare Central Hospital. The post-mortem was conducted but the relatives are refusing to bury the body because they want to be compensated,” said Bvudzijena.

He said asking for compensation violated the laws of the country.

“It is illegal under the law to ask for compensation but there is nothing we can do to force them to bury their relative.”

Bennett said the person who committed the crime was well known but nothing had been done.

“The person is linked to the Central Intelligence Organisation and sometimes is hired to train the Presidential Guard. This is the reason there has not been any meaningful development in this case.”

Bennett said it was only after the publication of the story in the Zimbabwe Independent last week that the Criminal Investigation Department showed an interest and interviewed witnesses.

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