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Was it Mujuru?

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The late Rtd General Solomon Mujuru’s daughter yesterday said the family buried human remains found at her father’s farmhouse without ascertaining their exact identity.

Kumbirai Rungano Mujuru made the revelations on the ninth day of the inquest into her father’s mysterious death in a fire last August, raising further doubts the remains could have been those of General Mujuru.

The Mujuru family has already raised questions over the identity of the remains interred at the National Heroes’ Acre.

Kumbirai said the family interred the remains on August 21 on assumption they were burying her father after police submitted a report to the effect that it was General Mujuru who had perished in the inferno.

“Maybe the police knew who it was and as family we just accepted it was my father’s remains and we buried him,” she said.

After the farmhouse fire, Kumbirai said she only saw a “black frame of the body, skull and shoulders that looked like a human being”.

She said a police doctor Edward Fusire took her blood samples on August 24 seeking to match them to those of the remains found at the farm through DNA tests.

“The DNA tests results have not been disclosed to the family,” she said.

“On August 24 last year my blood samples were
taken by Dr Fusire and were referred to Police General Headquarters,” Kumbirai said.

“They said they wanted to match them with my father’s DNA, but I was never told the results.” She was responding to a question by the Mujuru family lawyer Thakor Kewada, who asked why the police took blood samples from her and how she knew DNA tests had been done on her father’s remains.

Fusire also confirmed in his testimony yesterday he took blood samples from Kumbirai but did not know anything about the results.

“I handed over the blood samples to the investigating officer for DNA tests, but I did not hear of the results,” he said.

Regional magistrate Walter Chikwanha, who is presiding over the high-profile hearing, then asked Kewada to make a formal application following his request to the court through a letter asking for permission to invite an independent forensic pathologist to attend the hearing.

“I confirm I wrote the letter on behalf of Vice-President Mujuru’s family to call another forensic pathologist,” Kewada said.

“The justification of this application would be that various experts will express various opinions on the same matter, and on behalf of the family there is a possibility of a different opinion of the cause of death,” he added.

Kewada said the VP’s family had already secured a pathologist from South Africa who had agreed to give evidence.

“He may or may not agree with the first pathologist and questions may arise from there.

“On the question of whether to exhume the body the expert will tell us and we will rely on the opinion of the pathologist,” Kewada said.

Prosecutor Sharon Fero said she was not opposed to the application provided the reasons for bringing an independent pathologist were to assist in asking questions after the evidence by Dr Gabriel Alvero, a government pathologist.

Magistrate Chikwanha said he would rule on the application by Kewada on Monday after making it clear he understood Kewada’s application was not for the exhumation of General Mujuru’s remains.

Yesterday’s proceedings started with the investigating officer Chief Superintendant Crispen Makedenge winding up his testimony.

Asked by the court to offer his personal opinion concerning his entire investigations, Makedenge ruled out foul play as the cause of Mujuru’s death. He said the charred remains discovered at Alamein Farm in Beatrice belonged to the late General Mujuru, according to DNA tests.

“Through blood samples from Kumbirai and the tissues extracted from the charred remains, the results showed they were 99,9% of Kumbirai’s father,” Makedenge said.

“According to the pathologist the cause of death was carbonisation, meaning there was inhalation of carbon monoxide.

“We got no tangible evidence there was any foul play according to our investigations,” he added.
Forensic ballistic expert, Detective Inspector Admire Mutizwa, told the inquest he examined the severely burnt 15 firearm remains and six kilogrammes of ammunition that were presented to him.

Mutizwa said he examined all the spent cartridges and discovered they had no primers, an indication they had not been tampered with but exploded on their own.

“None of the cartridges had a mark to indicate they had been fired from a gun,” Mutizwa said.

He produced 15 commercial firearm licences issued to the late general and also told the court all the burnt ammunition discovered after the inferno were registered save for the AK-47 assault rifle.

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