The high-profile inquest into the mysterious death of Retired General Solomon Mujuru appears to have fallen into jeopardy.
Impeccable sources have revealed to NewsDay that the inquest’s key witness, forensic pathologist Gabriel Alvero, a Cuban national, has not been cleared by his government to testify in a Zimbabwean court.
Being the one who carried out the post-mortem, Alvero holds the key evidence on the cause of death of Zimbabwe’s most decorated army commander.
According to sources, in the event that Alvero is eventually given the greenlight to testify, the Cuban expatriate doctor would also require a specialist interpreter to assist the court during his testimony.
The inquest was on Monday adjourned to tomorrow after the evidence of the 32nd witness, the director of the Forensic Science Laboratory in the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Bothwell Mutandiro.
No reasons were proffered for the two-day break, but a court official who chose to remain anonymous told NewsDay yesterday the pathologist, Alvero, as an expatriate doctor needed to be cleared by his government before giving evidence in local courts.
“The matter was postponed to Thursday (tomorrow) because the post-mortem was done by Alvero, who is a Cuban national. He is not allowed to testify in our local courts without clearance from his government,” said the source.
Contacted for comment, Acting Director of Public Prosecution Tawanda Zvekare said: “The forensic pathologist is competent to testify like any other witnesses. If he is the one who did the examination, nothing can stop him from giving evidence in court.”
Judiciary service commission deputy secretary Rex Shana said: “My office received a request for the services of a Spanish interpreter to assist the doctor in the inquest and I do not know whether the doctor is Cuban or of any other nationality, but we are working on that matter.”
Regional magistrate Walter Chikwanha on Monday ruled the South African forensic pathologist whom the Mujuru family lawyer
Thakor Kewada intends to bring could only come after the local pathologist, Alvero, finished testifying.