Mujuru died in an inferno at his farmhouse in Beatrice last August.
Family lawyer Thakor Kewada told The Standard that Mujuru’s family and his associates suspect that some of the workers and security personnel at the farm knew of what really happened to Mujuru.
He said coroner Walter Chikwanha, who conducted an inquest into the General’s death, erred by concluding in his findings that there was no foul play, as ample evidence was provided that investigations were botched, raising a lot of questions on circumstances under which the general died, including how the fired started.
“My clients are highly suspicious that the general did not die in that fire,” said Kewada.
“They suspect he was killed before the fire started. Thereafter the body was planted in the house and the fire was started as a cover up”.
He said the family suspected that those who murdered Mujuru were already in the house when the General arrived at the farm at around 8.20pm on the fateful day on August 15 last year, or they tranquillised him using a dart gun while he was stepping out of his vehicle.
There was also a theory that white phosphorous or TNT explosives were used to burn Mujuru’s body after the alleged murder.
Kewada pointed out a lot of inconsistencies which the family believe prove there was foul play.
The Harare Fire Brigade said investigations showed that the fire started in two places, an indication that arson could have taken place. Kewada said if the fire started around 8.20pm, Mujuru, a trained soldier and hero of the war of liberation, should have felt the heat and smelt the smoke before the fire had spread.
He said Mujuru’s vehicle was unusually parked at the back of the house. It was unlocked, and his cellphone, groceries and jacket were still inside, which was strange considering that he wanted to wake up early in the morning at around 2am.
The vehicle keys have never been found up to today.
Mujuru’s maid, Rosemary Short told the inquest that she locked the house including the bedrooms.
But if the General had indeed left his keys in Harare as she claimed, why did she not tell him that she had also locked all the doors to the house, particularly when Mujuru had earlier indicated that he wanted to sleep in the car if keys were not available?
South African forensic experts admitted the samples they were given were contaminated because of poor storage by police in Zimbabwe. They did not find any traces of explosives yet the investigating officer, Chief Superintendent Crispen Makedenge brought 6kg of ammunition, including spent cartridges which exploded due to the intense heat.
The experts also said the examination was limited at tracing three liquids namely paraffin, petrol and diesel. Kewada said the Mujuru family was questioning why the South Africans were told to limit their investigations to only three liquids yet substances such as white phosphorous and TNT could have been used.
He said four police officers were supposed to be guarding Mujuru instead of the three who were on duty that day.
Kewada said the police’s rest and guard rooms were close to the house, but it was surprising that all of them never saw the fire or smelt smoke until it was too late.
Zesa experts also ruled out an electrical fault as the cause of the fire.
“With all due respect, the coroner praises all witnesses and makes excuses for them,” said Kewada.
He said despite claims by Attorney-General Johannes Tomana that the case was now closed following the release of the inquest report, the Mujuru family would apply to the co-Ministers of Home Affairs for the exhumation of the body. This would allow the family’s independent pathologist Dr Reggie Perumal of South Africa or another expert to do a second autopsy.
“My clients want to get to the truth of the matter,” said Kewada. “If a second pathologist comes to the same conclusion, that Mujuru died of carbonisation, this will bring the matter to finality and end all the suspicions surrounding his death.”
The mystery of unburnt curtains
While Mujuru’s body was charred, it was surprising that the curtains survived the inferno. Questions therefore still remain as to how the curtains survived while Mujuru did not, suggesting that the general could have been burnt in a controlled fire which later spread to the whole house.
Pathologist was ill-equipped for the job at hand, argues Thakor Kewada
The Cuban pathologist, Dr Gonzales Alvero admitted he did not do a thorough examination because he could not draw blood samples and test organs because Mujuru’s body was completely charred. But pictures of the body which were shown to The Standard prove that from the neck to the groin, body parts, including the lungs and kidneys were intact.
Kewada questioned why Alvero, who does not speak English, destroyed the original autopsy report which he wrote in Spanish. The Cuban pathologist also admitted that he did not have the requisite equipment such as an X-Ray machine, but the coroner praised him and ruled that the Mujuru family was talking about textbook pathology.
Kewada questioned how Chikwanha knew that this was textbook pathology as he was not an expert in that area.