Family want Mujuru body exhumed

The family of the late army general Solomon Mujuru says it still suspects foul play in the way he died, despite a ruling to the contrary by inquest magistrate Walter Chikwanha. Family lawyer Thakor Kewada said they will seek permission from the Home Affairs Ministry to have his remains exhumed for a fresh post-mortem.

The decision sets up a potential flashpoint, given the determination by some sections of ZANU PF to kill speculation over the general’s death. Attorney General Johannes Tomana has already instructed the police to treat the Mujuru docket as ‘a closed and completed matter’ despite protests from his family.

The ZANU PF controlled media are aggressively pushing the line that Tomana has the last say on the matter. But Kewada insists he will be writing to the Home Affairs Ministers Kembo Mohadi (ZANU PF) and Theresa Makone (MDC-T) once Vice President Joice Mujuru is back from her trip to Dubai.

It will be interesting to see whether the two co-Home Affairs Ministers will agree on the exhumation, given they are from two different political parties that see things differently.

“I cannot predict what the Minister of Home Affairs is going to say, but wisdom must prevail when we make our application. He must know that the general public still has suspicions. He must authorise exhumation of the body so that the public will not say somebody is trying to hide something,” Kewada said.

Kewada said the Mujuru family strongly suspect the general was ‘demobilised and killed’ and “there is suspicion in the minds of my clients and relatives that somebody killed the General and ferried his body and put it in the house.” He disputed claims an exhumation was of no value, given the time that had elapsed.

“The magistrate has erred again in his thinking. You can examine a body for up to 20 years,” Kewada said provided “the body is interred in a cemetery established or controlled and administered under the Cemetery Act Chapter 5.4 such a body may only be disinterred upon the order of the minister responsible for Home Affairs”.

Kewada is also not happy that the magistrate accepted evidence from the Cuban pathologist who examined Mujuru’s remains, even though he was not a registered medical practitioner in Zimbabwe. “I also cross examined the pathologist for two-and-a-half hours and in my cross examination I established that the pathologist admitted on four occasions that his post-mortem report was flawed,” he said.

To make matters worse, Kewada claims he is being denied a transcript of the inquest hearing and that Chikwanha’s report omitted a number of things said by witnesses during the hearing.

Mujuru died last year in a fire at his farmhouse in Beatrice, outside Harare. His death deeply divided ZANU PF because he led a faction that was locked in a fierce contest for influence with another faction led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. The death has strained relations further within ZANU PF. – SW Radio Africa News

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