Zimbabwe court rejects request to exhume general's bodyBy KITSEPILE NYATHI in Harare | Tuesday, February 7 2012 at 15:28
A Zimbabwean magistrate on Monday dismissed an application by the country’s Vice-President Joyce Mujuru to have the remains of her husband who died in a mysterious fire exhumed.
Mr Walter Chikwanha made the ruling at the end of an inquest into the death of the former Zimbabwe army commander retired Gen Solomon Mujuru in August last year.
Gen Mujuru was burnt beyond recognition after a fire gutted his farmhouse about 30 kilometres outside Harare amid suspicion that he was murdered. (Read: Zim general was dead before fire, says expert)
Following revelations that the government pathologist had failed to conduct a proper autopsy due to lack of equipment, the Mujuru family had lodged an application to have his body exhumed.
But Mr Chikwanha dismissed the application saying the nature of the hearing did not allow for such a determination.
“I am dealing with the Inquest Act,” he said. ‘We are making findings through witnesses. There is another law which deals with exhumations.”
He said he would analyse the evidence presented during the three week inquest and present his findings to the Attorney General.
Ms Mujuru told journalists outside court that the family would wait for the determination.
She refused to comment on the rejection of the application to exhume the remains interred at the National Heroes Acre.
The VP was the last was to testify after the magistrate called 39 witnesses.
The former army commander was believed to be the power behind his wife’s rise in President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.
There were also reports that he was leading a faction that was positioning itself to take over after the veteran ruler’s departure.
Mr Kewada, the Mujuru family lawyer last week had said the government pathologist’s postmortem report report showed that he did not follow normal procedure “whereby the corpse is cut open and each organ carefully examined.”
South African forensic experts said they could not ascertain the cause of Gen Mujuru’s death because Zimbabwean police brought “possibly contaminated” samples for tests.
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