KWEKWE — The family of Blessing Matanda (29), who was found dead in a holding cell at Munyati police post, is seeking the services of an independent pathologist to ascertain the cause of his death.
Report by Blessed Mhlanga, Staff Reporter
The father of the deceased, Jacob Matanda, has since October 4 refused to bury his son, insisting he wanted a satisfactory explanation on the circumstances surrounding the death.
Blessing was found lying in a pool of his own blood with a gun lying beside him inside the police holding cell. Police claimed he must have smuggled the firearm into the cells and later committed suicide, assertions the family lawyers have dismissed as absurd.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) confirmed that their lawyer, Tawanda Zhuwarara, was now taking instructions from the Matanda family in the pursuit of justice and closure to the matter.
“We are in the process of trying to get a local pathologist to do an independent postmortem which will then inform on our next course of action which most likely is seeking compensation from the police,” said Zhuwarara.
The lawyer, who accompanied the family to the Kwekwe General Hospital mortuary where the remains of Matanda have been lying for the past 26 days, said they suspected foul play.
“He is alleged to have shot himself from the back. The initial indications which we saw do not add up to the story which the police are telling our clients and, therefore, an independent pathologist will be called in to compile a report which we will present before the courts,” said Zhuwarara.
ZLHR has already requested permission from Kwekwe General Hospital to bring their own pathologist to examine the body.
Zhuwarara said police cells were fast becoming unsafe places for suspects.
“This case is the eighth active case I have dealt with this year alone . . . the purpose for a person being put in police custody is to ensure that you attend court, but these days it’s not a given that you will attend court, you might just die in the cell,” he said.
Blessing was handed over to the police after he was arrested by members of the public on suspicion that he had broken into a shop in Munyati.