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Relatives claim plot to cover up army killings

Families of some of the victims of the army’s fatal shootings on the streets of Harare last week claim authorities at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals tried to falsify post-mortem results to reflect that they died of stab wounds.

By Everson Mushava

Relatives of the late Sylvia Maphosa are overwhelmed with emotion during body viewing in Waterfalls, Harare, yesterday. Maphosa was allegedly shot at the back during Wednesday’s protests in the city centre as she walked home from work. Picture: Shepherd Tozvireva

According to the police, six people died when soldiers opened fire after a protest over delays by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release the July 30 presidential election results turned violent.

One of the victims, Sylvia Matambo Maphosa (52), was shot in the back as she fled to safety. She was buried in Harare yesterday.

Family sources said there was a showdown between Maphosa’s relatives and a doctor at Parirenyatwa Hospital on Thursday.

They claimed the doctor had falsely indicated that she died of stab wounds.

“We went there, and we received a preliminary report that claimed that Sylvia died from stabbing,” the family member said.

The report was given on Thursday evening, but the family refused to sign or collect the body, demanding a proper autopsy report that showed the correct cause of her death.

Attempts to verify the claims by the family were unsuccessful up to the time of going to print last night.

Another family representative, who preferred to remain unnamed out of fear, claimed that several families of the victims of the shooting were also given autopsy reports making similar stab wound claims as the cause of death.

The representative said all the families had later shared the information and agreed to refuse to take the reports or to collect the bodies of their deceased relatives.

A Maphosa family member said they only got the correct autopsy report after they engaged a prominent lawyer (name supplied) on Friday.

“The doctor who did the autopsy then yielded to pressure and asked to consult his superiors before coming out with autopsies that stated gunshot wounds as the cause of the death,” the relative said.

“We eventually accepted the papers and went on to collect the deceased’s body for burial today (yesterday).”

Attempts to get a comment on the claims from the lawyer were all in vain, as their mobile phone was switched off.

Chamisa on Friday told journalists that he had been briefed about the alleged plot to cover up the shootings and to lie that the deaths had been caused by knife stabbings.

Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa said last night that it was unlikely that a postmorterm could be falsified in such a manner and promised to get more details from the concerned hospital.

Meanwhile, Maphosa’s brother, Joshua Matambo, said his sister’s death was a severe blow to the family.

“I am pained. She was not a politician, but she was shot. It is painful,” he said.

“We have had no word from government, no word from the MDC Alliance, yet my sister is gone.

“I don’t have a word for both (president Emmerson) Mnangagwa and (MDC Alliance leader Nelson) Chamisa. They are useless. Their squabbles are not helping us and, look, we have lost lives. I am pained.”

Maphosa’s husband, Robert, told a Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter in an article published online that his family had lost a breadwinner.

“She used to play a vital role to each and every one. I am not praising her because she is my wife, she was just a nice person,” he said. “If you ask everyone, they will tell you that she didn’t deserve to die in that manner.”

He said his wife was a religious person who minded her own business all the time.

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4 Responses to Relatives claim plot to cover up army killings

  1. Yohwe August 5, 2018 at 1:28 pm #

    Eh ka. Ivo ana Chamisa, Mnangangwa vakagogara zvavo. Their children were not part of the demonstrators. Zimbabweans, refuse to be used by these politicians unless you are fools.

    • 2018 Bad Omen August 6, 2018 at 8:54 am #

      Who was used? Some of the deceased are working people gunned down on their way from work. If you work for a living, you will understand this. Protests are a right, damaging property is WRONG but soldiers firing live ammo into a crowd is NOT right, I hope this is clear in your mind.
      Doctors falsifying post-mortems is NOT a legal thing and supporting a government which instructs soldiers to shoot and kill is downright stupid because you or your relative can be a victim, even if you have your own gun or are a soldier or consider yourself “careful” or even politically inactive.
      Think, listen & decide.
      ED’s deceit, ruthlessness and pretence is all coming out now. I’m surprised some think this is a blessing for the country, it’s not. It’s a bad omen.

  2. sama August 5, 2018 at 6:47 pm #

    you can say that again they call for demos but are nowhere near the action

  3. 7 dead 550 000 to go August 6, 2018 at 8:59 am #

    I would rather be on the side of the unarmed civilian than soldiers who fire live ammunition at random in the middle of the CBD, I’m comfortable that way. Zanu PF members are finding it very difficult to celebrate because there is blood on the floor – but again, they are the party which proclaims “Zanu ndeye ropa” – their words not mine.

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