Mujuru death: Inquest on cards

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Investigations into circumstances leading to the death of Retired General Solomon Mujuru have so far revealed that there could have been foul play, but the police are reluctant to pronounce a verdict, preferring an inquest instead, senior officers said yesterday.

Sources said after completing the investigations — which included interviewing witnesses — the police favoured submitting their findings to a magistrate who would determine whether or not there could have been foul play.

If the magistrate rules there are reasons to suspect foul play, an inquest would be held.
Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, however, declined to reveal what course of action the police would take, except to say investigations were still in progress.

“We are not discussing anything to do with the matter except what we have said before — which is basically that we are finalising investigations. There are procedures which have to be followed and we are doing that,” he said.

A source, however, said the police did not want to pass judgment in the case and were pushing for an independent inquiry.

“Even if we have an opinion of whether there was foul play or not, an independent inquiry may be the best in such circumstances. This means that after investigating we may forward the results to a magistrate, who will then make an opinion based on those investigations,” said the source.

“From those findings, an inquest can then be held, if there is a need.” Another officer said there was no way foul play could be discounted given the many unanswered questions on the tragedy.
Mujuru, Zimbabwe’s most decorated post-independence army general, was burnt to death at his Beatrice farm last month.

Preliminary indications were that the fire could have been started by a candle, but the media, his wife Vice- President Joice Mujuru and his relatives, have raised a number of inconsistencies in the manner he died, suggesting he could have been murdered.

For example, VP Mujuru has questioned how a trained military man could have failed to escape from the fire using the low and wide windows in his bedroom where there are no burglar bars. She revealed that the couple’s young grandchildren used to come in and out of the bedroom using the windows.