Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Police left Mujuru to die – Lawyer

By Tendai Kamhungira and Xolisani Ncube

HARARE – Police officers tasked to protect the late Solomon Mujuru could have left him to die in a fire blaze as they ran around for more than three kilometres trying to find assistance in locating the late general’s bedroom, a family lawyer has said.

Pallbearers from the Zimbabwe National Army carry the casket containing the charred body of Retired General Solomon Mujuru soon after the removal of his remains from his farmhouse in which he was burnt to death.
Pallbearers from the Zimbabwe National Army carry the casket containing the charred body of Retired General Solomon Mujuru soon after the removal of his remains from his farmhouse in which he was burnt to death.

Thakor Kewada from Scanlen and Holderness said this while questioning Tawanda Madondo, a groundsman at Mujuru’s farm during an on-going inquest into the death of the five-star general.

Kewada, representing the Mujuru family, said it was possible that the three police officers assigned to protect the late general “wasted time” as they sought help to locate the general’s bedroom which they claimed they were unfamiliar with.

Three police officers constables Augustinos Chinyoka, Obert Mark and Lazarus Handikatari were manning the inner gate leading to the general’s yard.

The lawyer told the court that it would have been ideal for the police officers to break any of the windows to gain entry into the burning house and save Mujuru rather than running for three-and-half kilometres to the farm compound to fetch people who could help locate Mujuru’s bedroom.

Madondo said one of the police officers took 30 minutes travelling to the farm compound looking for information on Mujuru’s bedroom as fire gutted the farm house.

Police officers tasked to protect the late Solomon Mujuru could have left him to die in a fire blaze as they ran around for more than three kilometres trying to find assistance in locating the late general’s bedroom, a family lawyer has said.
Police officers tasked to protect the late Solomon Mujuru could have left him to die in a fire blaze as they ran around for more than three kilometres trying to find assistance in locating the late general’s bedroom, a family lawyer has said.

According to Madondo, a police detail approached him at 2:26am on the fateful day asking for the position of Mujuru’s bedroom. The two walked for 30 minutes back to the farm house, Police left Mujuru to die — Lawyer Madondo told the court.

“Would I be wrong if I say the police officer wasted time by coming to your place of residence instead of breaking windows and save the general?” asked Kewada.

In his response, Madondo concurred with Kewada saying it would have been wiser for the officers to break any window and try to search for the late general. Information proffered in court so far indicates that the charred remains of Mujuru’s body were found in the lounge.

The court also heard that police details tasked to protect Mujuru had frosty relations with the general, forcing him to contemplate having them posted elsewhere. Madondo told the court that police officers poured buckets of water as they tried to extinguish the late general‘s smouldering body.

“I saw a black object but the shape was indicative of a human being and by then the body was burning,” said Madondo.

Asked by the late general’s nephew Tendai Mundawarara whether the flames on the body died off straight away, Madondo said: “Police officers poured a number of water buckets for the fire to be extinguished.”

Yesterday’s hearing saw six witnesses testifying.

These are Emmanuel Musona, a welder, Ewiri Biara, a security guard at the farm, Stephen Harineyi, the farm clerk, Sarudzai Nyakudya a receptionist in the office of the President and Cabinet tasked with handling the welfare of farm workers and Samuel Gamanya, a manager from a neighbouring farm.

At least 21 more witnesses are expected to give evidence next week when the case resumes on Tuesday. Vice president Joice Mujuru is also expected to give evidence, according to the lawyer.

In yesterday’s session, Harineyi described the farm workers’ relationship with the late general as “cordial”, while he also confirmed that when the body was discovered it was burning.

Gamanya confirmed seeing the late general at his farm at around 8pm while ferrying bricks to the farm. He said the road to the farm passed through the general’s farm.

Rosemary Short, a maid to the late general, told the court that she heard two gunshots before a police officer approached her at her place of residence telling her about the fire.

This was also after a private security guard Clemence Runhare told the court that he heard gun shots, before revealing that Mujuru was in the company of a male passenger.

Police guarding the premises disputed this fact.

The inquest is being conducted in terms of Section Six of the Inquest Act which reads: “The proceedings and evidence at an inquest shall be directed solely to ascertaining (a) who the deceased was, (b) how, when and where the deceased came to his death.”

The presiding magistrate Walter Chikwanha will then confirm the death was sudden or order further investigations or cause the opening of a criminal case, depending on his findings.

Mujuru died in what was reported to be an inferno at his Beatrice farm, 60 kilometres south of Harare last August. According to facts presented before the court so far, the retired general left his Chisipite home driving an Isuzu KB250 double cab on August 15 last year.

He arrived at Beatrice Motel at 5:30pm where he drank four tots of John Walker Black Label whiskey diluted with soda water before proceeding to his farm at 8pm, whereupon arrival, Runhare opened the gate for him.

Three police officers constables Augustinos Chinyoka, Obert Mark and Lazarus Handikatari were manning the inner gate leading to the general’s yard.

Five minutes later, the court heard Mujuru drove towards the eastern gate going to Short’s living quarters where he intended to collect keys to the farm house. Daily News

Comments