Mujuru death remains divisive issue within Zanu PF

The suspicious death of retired army general Solomon Mujuru continues to be a thorny issue within ZANU PF, after several reports suggested politburo and central committee meetings are avoiding discussion on the matter.

Solomon Mujuru
Solomon Mujuru

Vice President Joice Mujuru’s husband died when the farmhouse he was sleeping in caught fire, but since then the results of a police investigation have been kept under wraps. The police instead said they had forwarded their findings to the courts, who have since ordered an inquest.

The late general led the so-called Mujuru faction in ZANU PF that is involved in a contest for influence with the faction led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mujuru faction members are angry at the manner in which his death has been handled and the lack of appetite within the party to discuss the matter.

Mujuru’s allies are said to be pushing for his remains to be exhumed to hopefully establish the real cause of death. Forensic experts say it’s possible to test his remains for traces of poison or any other factors that could have caused his death. Several family members are pushing for independent investigators from outside the country to examine the case as they fear local political manipulation.

On Wednesday ZANU PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo was a guest on SW Radio Africa’s Question Time programme. He denied that the police report on Mujuru’s death was being kept under wraps saying: “If police say it’s with the courts, then it’s up to the court to decide. So it’s now subjudice and we can’t comment on something that is in the court.”

Gumbo tried to downplay the agitation amongst fellow ZANU PF members over the Mujuru issue adding: “I don’t see it dividing us because we tend to follow the law of the country. The police are there to make sure that investigations are done properly, if they produce a report and refer it to the courts for an inquest, we support that.

Asked to comment on ZANU PF MP’s using parliament to demand answers on the Mujuru case, Gumbo told SW Radio Africa: “ Members of Parliament from the party have their views, that’s what we call democracy isn’t?”

The matter continues to generate intrigue after recently leaked US diplomatic cables suggested that relations between Mujuru and Mugabe were so strained that at one time that the two did not speak to each other. This was after Mujuru challenged the ZANU PF leader to step down.

Speculation heightened last week when a businessman with close links to the Mujuru faction was arrested on allegations of espionage and illegally setting up satellite communication equipment to leak official secrets to foreign countries.

Prominent banker Farai Rwodzi, a non-executive director at telecoms company Africom Holdings, was arrested alongside acting chief executive Simba Mangwende and Oliver Chiku from Global Satellite Systems.

Allegations are that the trio “connived to install communication equipment” and connect it to the “Africom main network system without the authority or knowledge of Africom management and the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe.” – SW Radio Africa

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