The memorial was attended by thousands of people among them Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Vice-President John Nkomo, deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, cabinet ministers, service chiefs, religious leaders and Zanu PF supporters.
“They (CIO) never saw me in any bar or with a secret lover because I was always either at school, church or at work,” she said. “I have always been faithful to him because I am a principled traditional and god-fearing woman who wanted to be a role model for my children.”
Mujuru said when she married, the late general in 1977, he already had two children, Maidei and the late Charity, both of whom she raised as her own. She said although Mujuru drank a lot of beer and sometimes did not sleep at home the marriage was based on trust.
She said women who wanted to keep their marriages like what she did with the late general, should not listen to rumour or take the law into their own hands if they find out that their husbands have “small houses”.
Mujuru said when investigators wanted to prove that the charred remains found at the farm house were indeed Mujuru’s, she agreed to have her daughter Kumbirai’s samples taken for DNA matching because she knew all her children belonged to the late general.
She said all the other children who were claiming to be Mujuru’s should go the similar route of DNA testing to prove that they were sired by the late general. “This is what will happen to all those who are coming claiming to be Mujuru’s. If they prove this through DNA, I will look after them,” said the Vice-President.
At the same service, President Robert Mugabe said he was still puzzled by the circumstances surrounding the retired general’s death in an inferno at his farm. He said the former army commander had a strong military background and high sense of alertness and wondered how he could have perished in the fire.
Mugabe still puzzled by General’s death
Mugabe said it was baffling to understand how Mujuru died, as he was a brave person whose high sense of alertness had saved him from similar disasters during the war of liberation.
“How could he burn like that without escaping?” he asked. “Maybe he was drunk, as a person who drank beer. Maybe he was deep in sleep when the fire started.”
However, witnesses testified at the inquest into the death of Mujuru that the retired general went home sober and had drunk only two tots of whisky as he wanted to wake up early on the morrow of the fateful day, August 15 last year.
Mugabe said Mujuru managed to escape death by a whisker a few times before, including in Switzerland in 1976 when his hotel room was engulfed by fire during the Geneva talks. He said Mujuru managed to escape from the third floor through a window.
Mugabe, who visited the gutted farm house for the first time, said there was no way Mujuru could have escaped the fire given the extent of the damage due to the intensity of the fire.
Mugabe praised Mujuru for helping counter rebellions within Zanu PF during the war of liberation. He said Mujuru provided vital information on plans by “group ravashandi” led by former Zanla commander, Wilfred Mhanda, whose Chimurenga name was Dzinashe Machingura, who did not respect Mugabe’s authority and wanted to overthrow the leadership.
Mugabe said Mujuru managed to rescue two leaders — Edgar Tekere and Hebert Ushewokunze, who had been arrested by the “rebels” who had dug a huge underground hole to imprison them.
Shiri insists Mujuru death a mystery
Air Force of Zimbabwe commander, Air Marshal Perence Shiri, who chronicled Mujuru’s military history, said the death of his former commander was still a mystery up to today.
Shiri, who was said to be close to Mujuru, spoke at the memorial service as Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga could not attend due to a family bereavement.
Shiri’s insistence that Mujuru’s death was still a mystery came as a surprise to many at the memorial, as the official position was in line with coroner Walter Chikwanha’s findings, concluding that there was no foul play and that the cause of death was “carbonisation”.
Although ZDF Chaplain, Colonel Joseph Nyakudya instructed speakers and members of the public to desist from making statements which could “open old wounds”, it was clear that the atmosphere was tense, especially for Mujuru’s relatives and associates.
A woman who represented Mujuru’s mother, said she was still pained and not happy at the circumstances surrounding Mujuru’s death before breaking down in tears.
Family lawyer, Thakor Kewada, recently told The Standard that the coroner erred by concluding 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.
Vice-President Mujuru accused the media of “abusing” her by writing falsehoods about her. “I think I deserve an apology from the newspapers. They have abused me and my departed husband. They have belittled me. It’s those people who envy to be part of the Mujuru family who fed you wrong information,” she said in apparent reference to reports by whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks quoting American diplomats saying the Mujuru’s were long divorced.
Although the Mujuru family did not speak much about Mujuru’s death, they have insisted that the mysterious death can only be brought to finality by exhuming his body and conducting a fresh autopsy, as they are still highly suspicious that he was murdered.