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‘General Mujuru not murdered’

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An inquest into the mysterious death of Zimbabwe’s first black army commander Retired General Solomon Mujuru has ruled out any foul play, the family lawyer said yesterday.

Thakor Kewada, the lawyer who represented the Mujuru family during the inquest last month said magistrate Walter Chikwanha had ruled that the former Zanu PF politburo member died from “carbonisation”.

The report, which was handed to the Attorney-General’s Office on Thursday, has not yet been published.

“The report says he died due to carbonisation and no foul play is suspected,” Kewada said.

“It says there was no evidence on how the fire started and that the remains buried at the National Heroes’ Acre are indeed the General’s.”

The lawyer also told the BBC that he does not believe the findings by the magistrate will help solve the mystery surrounding Mujuru’s death.

“I don’t think the verdict brings closure,” he said. “The authorities should allow us to exhume the body and get the pathologist we wish to call to examine the body.”

But Kewada said the General’s widow, Vice-President Joice Mujuru, had not yet gone through the inquest’s report and he was not yet sure of the next step. He said he was yet to discuss the report with VP Mujuru as she was outside the country for the next 10 days. During the hearings, the VP expressed displeasure at the security arrangements at her husband’s Beatrice Farm.

The policemen guarding the property on the fateful night in August last year said they failed to raise alarm after noticing a fire at the farmhouse because their radio was faulty. There were also reports of gunshots before the fire broke out. Questions were also asked about the number of people in the farm house that night after one guard claimed he saw the General in the company of a stranger. The family also unsuccessfully sought to have his body exhumed, saying it was not certain it was his remains that were interred at the National Heroes’ Acre. Gen Mujuru was regarded as the only person who could stand up to Mugabe in Zanu PF.

He was rumoured to be leading a Zanu PF faction that wants his wife to take over when Mugabe decides to retire.

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