By Faith Zaba
Almost a month after the mysterious death of retired army general Solomon Mujuru in a fire, an international human rights organisation has offered the Mujuru family, at the behest of his friends and relatives, specialist forensic assistance that may result in his remains being exhumed.
Mujuru’s friends have sought assistance from the international organisation after new compelling evidence emerged suggesting foul play. Investigations by the Zimbabwe Independent, which included talking to relatives, friends, allies and people at his Alamein Farm in Beatrice, have revealed that keys to the front door of the farmhouse went missing prior to Mujuru’s death.
In addition to the missing keys, people interviewed said the driver’s door to Mujuru’s white Isuzu double cab was found open and parked near the front door whose keys were missing, which they found unusual considering that the late retired army general had been parking near the kitchen door, whose entrance he had been using since the front-door keys went missing.
The friends and relatives said if the police investigation report is vague and inconclusive, they are going to demand an inquest into Mujuru’s death which would ensure thorough forensic tests are done. The international organisation would only come in to assist the family if it is unhappy with the police findings. If asked to assist, it will offer a forensic pathologist to do a second post-mortem to establish the cause of death.
One close friend said: “Family and friends have sought help from an international organisation because indications are that there is going to be a cover up and we will not be convinced that he died in a fire accident.
“But first, we will have to identify a close family member who can request an exhumation order and equipped with that we can then bring in a specialised forensic pathologist to do a second post-mortem.
“We also believe that because of the circumstances surrounding his death, President (Robert) Mugabe should order an inquest into his death. But where is the police’s preliminary report, which we believe should be out by now?”
When contacted through her office, Vice-President Joice Mujuru refused to comment saying she has said everything that needed to be said and now awaited the police’s report. A week after her husband’s death, Mujuru disclosed that she suspected foul play. Speaking out on the mysterious death of her husband, Mujuru said she wanted the truth to be told on what caused his death.
She said she would never rest until she was furnished with details of what really transpired. “It was closer (for him) to use the window than the door. So for a military man, it’s so weird that he could have failed to escape the fire,” she said.
“They should tell us what happened from 20:30 hours when he arrived home to when the fire was seen. This is where the story is…it’s only when they give us satisfactory answers surrounding his death (that) my heart will rest.” Indications from the police are that their report was likely to say that he died in a fire accident, possibly caused by a candle.
A ground study of the house by the Independent showed Mujuru could have escaped through the three exit doors in the bedroom or four windows next to where he was sleeping. Mujuru’s bedroom has four windows – two double and two single. None of the four had burglar bars. The single windows are about 42 cm from the ground and 30cm wide, while the double windows are about 1,1 m from the ground.
There are also three exit doors to the outside and two other doors – one leading to the small lounge where his body was found and the other to his daughters’ two bedrooms, which did not catch fire. Zimbabwe Independent