Was Mugabe’s former army general killed by Zanu-PF?

2012-01-21 19:40

Shocking revelations are emerging in the inquest of retired army general Solomon Mujuru, suspected to have been killed in cold blood by rival factions in Zanu-PF.

Mujuru died under mysterious circumstances in an inferno at his Beatrice farm, 60 kilometres south of Harare last August.

A lawyer representing the Mujuru family in an inquest under way at the Harare Magistrates Court said police officers protecting the retired army supremo wasted time by running around looking for information about Mujuru’s bedroom, instead of rescuing him from the blazing fire.

Thakor Kewada said this while examining evidence presented by Tawanda Madondo, a groundsman at Mujuru’s farm.

According to Madondo, a police officer approached him at 2.26am on the fateful day asking about the position of Mujuru’s bedroom.

The two walked for 30 minutes back to the farmhouse, Madondo told the court. It was estimated that the officer could have taken 30 minutes to reach Madondo’s residence at the workers’ compound, which translated into one hour of travelling.

“Would I be wrong if I say the police officer wasted time by coming to your place of residence instead of breaking windows and saving the general?” asked Kewada.

In his response, Madondo concurred with Kewada.

Information in court thus far, indicates that the charred remains of Mujuru’s body were found in the lounge.

The court also heard that police officers tasked to protect Mujuru had frosty relations with him.

Rosemary Short, a maid to the late general, told the court that she heard two gunshots before a police officer approached her home to tell her about the fire.

A private security guard, Clemence Runhare, told the court he also heard gunshots.

According to evidence before the court, Mujuru left his Chisipite home in an Isuzu KB 250 double cab on August?15 last year.

He allegedly arrived at Beatrice Motel at 5.30pm where he was said to have drunk four tots of Johnnie Walker Black Label with soda water, before proceeding to his farm at 8pm. When he arrived there, Runhare opened the gate for him.

Three police officers were manning the inner-gate leading to the general’s yard.

This week’s hearings saw six witnesses testifying in Zimbabwe’s first high-profile court case of 2012.

Mujuru’s wife, Joice, the country’s vice-president, was also expected to give evidence.

Mujuru was the country’s most decorated post-independence army general. There was speculation that his death was politically motivated, with his wife purported to be the target.

At the time of his death, factions within Zanu-PF were debating when to push for the next general election, with President Robert Mugabe eyeing an election at the end of last year.

Mujuru was allegedly at the helm of a bloc within the party who felt calling elections too early would lead to political upheaval.

At least 21 more witnesses were expected to give evidence next week when the case resumed on Tuesday. 

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