FOUR years to the day Zimbabwe’s most decorated soldier, Retired General Solomon Mujuru died in a mysterious inferno that gutted part of his farm house at Almein Farm in Beatrice, the Mujuru family is yet to find peace and is planning to have the case re-investigated as they still believe he was brutally murdered.
Mujuru, whose nom de guerre was Rex Nhongo, died on August 15 in 2011.
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent at his Goromonzi farm on Thursday, the late general’s brother Joel revealed the family remains certain the retired general did not die in a fire started by a candle, as police investigations revealed.
Some members of the family, he said, are still questioning whether he indeed died, and are hoping he would walk back into their lives at some point.
The family has since launched its own informal investigations by among other moves talking to farm workers and neighbours, with the information gathered thus far pointing to foul play in Mujuru’s death.
An inquest into the general’s death concluded in 2012 that he died in an inferno and there was no foul play.
Presiding magistrate, Walter Chikwanha, also instructed police to close the docket and treat the case as closed.
But since the inquest, the family says they have gathered more evidence suggesting foul play.
“We have been carrying out our own investigations and have come up with 27 points we believe will help us in reopening the case when it’s five years after his death.
These points are an addition to those raised by our lawyer (Thakor Kewada) during the inquest which the Home Affairs ministry failed to answer,” said Joel.
Although he refused to get into detail on the 27 points which the family says points to foul play, Joel said there were many unanswered questions regarding the general’s death.
Among these, he said the family was questioning why Mujuru parked near the verandah which is far away from the kitchen door despite having collected the kitchen keys from the compound, an anomaly also raised by his maid Rosemary Short.
He also questioned how some missing keys, which the general thought he had left in Harare, were later found in the main bedroom.
Joel said the family would have already demanded a fresh investigation if it was not for their Zezuru cultural belief that a person who dies under suspicious circumstances should not be disturbed through holding traditional ceremonies or family investigations before five years elapses.
He said because the family would demand fresh investigations, which would involve foreign experts, the farmhouse where Mujuru died had not been renovated to aid such investigations.
“We will pursue the matter after marking the fifth anniversary of his death in August 2016,” said Joel. “The farm house in Beatrice is still intact, it has not been renovated and we do not want to destroy any evidence.
We want the detectives to go back and take evidence and investigate this case further. We will definitely find out something.”
He said the family was so bitter that they had not set foot at the National Heroes Acre since Mujuru died, adding they would only do so after the fifth anniversary of his death.
Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru has however been to the national shrine on several occasions.
“We have so many issues that render us unable to visit the Heroes Acre where Solomon is buried. There are so many circumstances that hold us back from commemorating Solomon’s death, because as a family we have not yet accepted his death until today,” he said.
“For us to go to the Heroes Acre there are so many issues that we want to know. We are not stopping, we are looking for answers: Was it really Solomon who died? And if it’s really him after five years since his death we will seriously start looking for those who killed him.
We don’t care who, but we will find them. We have experts locally and internationally who will help us in finding answers.”
During the Mujuru inquest Clemence Runhare, a security guard who was manning the entrance gate to the farm, claimed he heard what sounded like gunshots around midnight.
Short also claimed to have heard what appeared to be gun shots. Questions were also asked on how the late general’s stomach and lungs were burnt while the carpet underneath his body was not.
Cuban pathologist Dr Gonzales Alvero told the court that he conducted the autopsy without adequate instruments and made an assumption that Mujuru died after inhaling carbon monoxide.
He said he could not draw blood for examination given the charred state of the body.
This prompted the Mujuru family to ask for permission to exhume his body to allow for a “proper” examination.
Chikwanha did not grant the application.
The late general, the only person in the politburo who could stand up to President Robert Mugabe, led one of the main factions in Zanu PF which has been at loggerheads with that led by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
His death weakened the faction and left his wife vulnerable.
She was brutally purged from the party in the aftermath of last year’s congress alongside prominent members of her faction such as former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa.
Some Zanu PF officials have linked the general’s death to Zanu PF succession fights, but Joel said the family was not worried about that and only wanted justice.
During First Lady Grace Mugabe’s whirlwind countrywide tour ahead of the Zanu PF congress last December she and her backers accused the general and his wife of corruptly accumulating wealth through intimidation and extortion, among other allegations.