Mujuru family to fight on

Walter Chikwanha, the presiding magistrate in the high profile inquest into the mysterious death of Retired Army Commander Solomon Mujuru, on Monday threw out an application by his family to involve an independent pathologist.


Their lawyer, Thekor Kewade, said he would pursue the quest to get an independent expert to quiz the state pathologist.

Dismissing the application, Chikwanha said he had already subpoenaed all the witnessed, among them a pathologist who examined the body of the deceased and is yet to testify.

“While I will not oppose 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,” said Chikanha in his judgement.

Kewada said he was disappointed. “The indication that the magistrate gave me when I had a meeting with him and the prosecutors was that he would not object.”

Bethwell Takura Mutandiro, the Director of Forensic Science laboratory in the Zimbabwe Republic Police, testified on Monday that they failed to detect the cause of the blaze that consumed the general.

“When we arrived in the company of two other colleagues from my department, we discovered that there was a tripped switch in the electricity distribution box signifying an electric fault.

We then discovered that fire was more intense in the main bedroom and the mini-lounge because of the degree of ash and the peeling of the paint. We then took samples of the burnt material which included curtains and floor tiles for examination in our laboratories. But we could not determine the cause of the fire, “he said.

Asked by Joel Mujuru, brother to the late general, why he as the investigating forensic scientist did not order the halting of the burial before a proper forensic exam Mutandiro said, “I was not even consulted in the burial. There were a lot of people involved and my duty was to do the forensic examination.”

Joel told the court, “The whole family is still confused. We are not sure whether the person you forced us to bury 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 later?” fumed Joel Mujuru. The inquest is continuing.

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