Investigations into the so-far inexplicable death of one of Zimbabwe’s most decorated soldiers, Retired General Solomon Mujuru, are now complete and an inquest is set to begin anytime soon, Attorney-General (AG) Johannes Tomana told NewsDay yesterday.
Tomana said the inquest was likely to bring finality to a tragedy that shocked the entire nation on August 12 last year.
The AG, whose office received the report of the police investigations, recently said a magistrate would be assigned to preside over the inquest to ascertain what exactly happened to Mujuru, who is said not to have had tribal inhibitions.
Tomana immediately appealed to all interested parties, who have been waiting for the probe results with bated breath, to be patient and let the judicial process take its course.
“It (the inquest) will be directed and guided by the courts,” Tomana said.
“Speculations have dominated this case, but at this stage, the matter now becomes sub judice (before the courts of law and, thus, cannot be discussed in the media).
Investigations by the police have been done and I am sure the inquest will happen anytime soon.”
Contents of the police report have been kept a closely-guarded secret, possibly to contain emotions of a nation eager to know how the country’s first black army general perished in a horrific inferno at his Alamein Farm in Beatrice.
Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed investigations into the puzzling death of Mujuru were complete.
“As the police, we have completed our investigations. We submitted our report to the Attorney-General’s Office, and an inquest is the next stage,” Bvudzijena said.
The nature of Mujuru’s death left tongues wagging, with many questioning how a thoroughly trained military man could have been engulfed in a fire and failed to escape.
Suspicions grew when the former owner of the farmhouse, Guy Watson-Smith, suggested foul play, immediately after the conflagration.
“. . . there were more doors and windows than holes in a colander. Our main bedroom alone had three doors out of it and four double windows. How do you get trapped inside that?” queried Watson-Smith.
The late General’s wife, Vice-President Joice Mujuru, weighed in, saying she was baffled by the death and would not rest until furnished with a comprehensive report on her husband’s death.
The Retired Army General, also known as Rex Nhongo, the nom de guerre he used during the liberation struggle, was perceived as Zimbabwe’s kingmaker in the country’s treacherous political waters, who led a faction eyeing the country’s Presidency.
In 2004, Mujuru was reportedly instrumental in securing his wife the country’s and Zanu PF’s second most powerful position, against a spirited campaign by another Zanu PF stalwart, Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Reports are that Mnangagwa leads the other faction vying for the Presidency while insiders say a senior soldier has also thrown his hat into the ring and is making waves.