Zimbabwe general's killer blaze mystery

2012-01-30 19:18

Harare - Investigators could not find out what caused the fire that killed former Zimbabwean army chief Solomon Mujuru last year, a forensic expert said on Monday.

"The cause of the fire could not be determined," Bothwell Mutandiro, director of the police forensic section, told an inquest into the death of Mujuru in a mysterious inferno in August last year.

"No accelerants or explosives" were found near the scene of Mujuru's death, according to Mutandiro.

The former army chief was widely seen as a king maker in Mugabe's party and was respected across Zimbabwe's political divide.

His death was followed by speculation that the influential politician was killed by somebody within his party, and that his death in the fire was not accidental.

Magistrate Walter Chikwanha on Monday postponed ruling on a Mujuru family request for an independent pathologist from South Africa to testify.

"I will not grant or dismiss the application but the local pathologist should come and testify first and we hear what he says," Chikwanha said.

"If he testifies then we will consider the request by the family lawyer to bring a South African pathologist, but the family lawyer should justify why it is necessary to have him come and testify."

Also known by his war name Rex Nhongo, Mujuru led Zimbabwe's liberation forces during the 1970s bush war against the Rhodesian government.

After independence in 1980, he became the army chief. Until his death at age 62, he remained an influential member of the ruling Zanu-PF amid internal rivalries and tensions after violent and inconclusive presidential elections in 2008.

He was respected as one of the few people able to speak frankly to President Robert Mugabe about ending political violence against Mugabe's opponents.

Lawmakers, including his wife Vice-President Joice Mujuru, have queried how he could have failed to escape from the burning house through various low-level windows.

  • Marius - 2012-01-30 20:06

    A match? A lighter? Hauk wena!

  • Brolloks - 2012-01-30 20:26

    Do they still have forensic experts in Zim? Maybe it's not all ddoom and gloom as presented on this forum?

      Leigh - 2012-01-31 19:14

      I suppose no nation wants to boast of having a lot of pathologists hey ? However the one that may attend to you could very well be from Zimbabwe....they were well trained !!

  • mdcsoutheastlondon - 2012-01-30 20:35

    It is now clear that the charred body buried at Heroes Acre is that of someone else not General Mujuru.One will be justified to conclude that the body found charred in Mujuru's house might have been planted there already burnt to an advanced stage. Mujuru's body must have been cremated at some secret place and will never be found. The only chance of establishing that Mujuru was murdered is by involving an independent Pathologist to get involved. There are many questions than answers surrounding Mujuru's death. 1) Why did the ZRP allow the crime scene to be contaminated. 2) His guards could not have all been asleep at this crucial moment. 3) No formal identification of his charred body was done. 4) Why was there rush to bury his body yet his death was suspicious. Take my word, no independent Pathologist will be involved in this case. Mugabe has a hand in all this, we know it. Many have gone before Mujuru under mysterious circumstances. Mujuru is only one more addition to list, its not surprising.

  • Leigh - 2012-01-31 19:10

    I would just like to correct one some wrong interpretation coming out this article. Mujuru must not be referred to as having "led Zimbabwe's Liberation Fighters" but rather as having led one such group which was ZANLA belonging to ZANU. There was another liberation movement called ZIPRA which was from ZAPU.

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