Walter Chikwanha the presiding magistrate in the high profile inquest into the mysterious death of Retired Army Commander Solomon Mujuru on Monday threw away an application by the Mujuru family to invite an independent pathologist to quiz a state pathologist in the ongoing inquest to the death of retired Army chief Solomon Mujuru.
Dismissing the application Chikwanha said it was the prerogative of the presiding magistrate in this case to summon witnesses.
He said as the presiding magistrate he has already subpoenaed all the witnessed who are suitable for the inquest adding that among the witnesses lined up for the inquest there is an pathologist who examined the body of the deceased whom he summoned and is yet to testify.
Chikwanha also said while he was not opposed to the calling of other witnesses the Mujuru family must justify the value in the inquest their witnesses will be adding.
“The prerogative to summon witnesses in this case lies with the presiding magistrate. As the presiding magistrate I have already subpoenaed all the witnessed who are suitable for the inquest. I have among the witnesses subpoenaed a pathologist who examined the body of the deceased who is yet to testify.
While i will not oppose to the calling of other witnesses they should add value in the inquest. We will consider your application after we have heard from the first pathologist and you should also justify why the opinion of a second pathologist is important, “Walter Chikanha said in his judgement.
Last week the Mujuru family applied for the invitation of an independent South African pathologist, to assist in the inquest. They said they wanted various opinions and expertise to compliment the inquest.
Thekor Kewada the Mujuru legal representative said he will not surrender in this case. “I must confess that I am disappointed because the indication that the magistrate gave me when I had a meeting with him and the prosecutors was that he will not object but give his ruling today.
I was hoping that we could combine the two, that is having the local pathologist here giving evidence with the South African pathologist seating in. I had also requested the magistrate to call the South African pathologist because he is the one who has that mandate, but this has not been granted. I have some notes of what the magistrate has said and will take note of them and then take it up from there,” Kewada told Reportersafter the court.
The only witness who is the 32nd witnesses in the high profile inquest Bethwell Takura Mutandiro the Director of Forensic Science laboratory in the Zimbabwe Republic Police who on Monday testified said they failed to detect the cause of the fire that gutted the house of the late General Mujuru.
“When we arrived in the company of two other collegues from my department discovered that there was a tripped off switch in the electricity distrinution box signifying an electric faulty.We then discovered that fire was more intense in the main bedroom and the mini-lounge because of the degree of ashes and the peeling off of the paints. We then took samples of the burnt material which included, curtains, floor tiles from the seat of the fire for examination in our laboratories .But we could not dictate the real cause of the fire, “he said.
Asked by Joel Mujuru brother to the late retired general Solomon why he as the investigating forensic scientist why he did not order the halting of the burial of the deceased before a proper forensic exam was done Mutandiro said,“I was not involved or even consulted in the burial of the deceased. There were a lot of people involved and my duty was to do the forensic examination.”
Joel urged in the court that “The whole family is still confused. We are not sure whether the person you forced us to burry is Solomon or not, because we were not given the chance to ascertain. Why did you not tell those in-charge to stop burying the body before you had established that indeed it was the General’s body since you were the one in charge of examining it?
How then do we know that we buried Solomon when he was buried before the DNA tests which came out a month after the burial?”Joel Mujuru fumed in the court.
It emerged from Mutandiro that they took some flesh samples from the body of the late General two days after the death which they kept for two weeks before taking some blood samples from the deceased’s daughter Kumbirai. They then took them to South Africa for the DNA tests which took over a month.
The Mujuru family urged that up to date they have not yet been shown the papers confirming the DNA tests hence the confusion engulfing the family. The inquest has been adjourned to today when South African forensic Scientists are expected to testify.Post published in: News