Thakor Kewada of Scanlen and Holders legal firm, the lawyer for the Mujurus told the court at the continuation of the inquest Tuesday that the three police officers on duty at the Ruzambo or Allaimaine farm in Beatrice when General Mujuru died were to blame because they failed to notice that there was fire in the farmhouse were the former amry commander was sleeping.
“I put it to you that you and your colleagues were negligent in your duties.I further put it to you that if you had correctly done your duties you could have put out the fire before it got worse,” Kewada said in court.
“The reason (you did not put out the fire early) was that you and your colleagues were fast asleep in the guard room instead of patrolling. You only rushed to the scene after your colleague screamed that there is a fire.”
Constable Obert Mark who testified Tuesday said the police communication radio they had at that time was defective adding that their superiors were aware of the problem.He further said together with the other two officers their mobile phones did not have ‘airtime’ or ‘credit’ to react swiftly to the fire.
Mark said it took sometime for them to know the bedroom that was used by Mujuru and by the time they identified the room, the bedroom was already burnt out.
“Our superiors were very much cognisant of the fact that the radio was not working,”Mark said. “When we were posted it was never indicated to us which bedroom, the deceased used and we were also not allowed to get into the house.”
Another constable who testified, Augustinos Chinyoka told the court that the fire brigade arrived at 5 am on August 16, 2011 at Allamaine farm without water to put out the fire.
Chinyoka said: “The fire brigade arrived at 5 am.They did not have water. I made enquiries with them and I was equally surprised that they did not bring water to the scene.”
Vice President Joice Mujuru who sat in the inquest hearing asked two questions to constable Mark who was being cross examined and told the magistrate that she was not provided with statements of the witnesses who were testifying.
“I am the wife of the late General. First I was not given the time to see the statements from these young men (police officers),” Mujuru said.
“I am one of the people schooled in security matters. First before one is posted to a certain point they are addressed of the significance of that particular point and one would ask for how long has these policemen were on duty and at what time were they supposed to be rotated or changed,”Mujuru asked.
One of the private security guards manning the outer entrance of the three gates Clemence Runhare on Monday told the court that General Mujuru arrived at Allaimaine farm with an unidentified man but constable Mark and Chinyoka said Mujuru was alone. Runhare stunned the court saying he heard two gun shots two hours before he was called to help put out the fire.
Mujuru inquest continues Wednesday as more witnesses are expected to give their testimony.