26 January 2012
Harare — THE family of the late retired army commander, General Solomon Mujuru, is not convinced that the charred remains found at his gutted Beatrice farmhouse were those of the decorated liberation war hero since the police had not positively identified the remains at the time a public announcement was made.
The general’s older brother, Joel Mujuru, told the ongoing inquest into the Zanu PF luminary’s death in Harare yesterday in an emotional outburst that he had reservations about the identity of the remains found at the burnt out Alamein farmhouse in August last year.
He made the remarks while cross-examining a Zesa expert, Douglas Nyakungu, who was based at Beatrice.
This is the second time during the inquest that the older Mujuru has questioned whether authorities were completely certain that the remains found at the badly burnt farmhouse were those of his brother.
On Tuesday Joel asked Assistant Inspector Jokonia Zaza from Beatrice Police Station if he was certain at the time he saw the body that he could identify it as that of the general. Zaza responded that the body was badly burnt and he “could not identify that it belonged to the general at that time”.
Joel also quizzed Nyakungu who had called the general on his mobile phone after the two had separated following a drink at Beatrice Motel on the evening of August 15.
“I don’t know whether it is him or not who was found at the farm,” said a distressed Joel. “Anyway, my question is whether the person who had called earlier; could you by any chance have been able to establish who he was talking to for a very long time?”
This was after Nyakungu had revealed that the general spoke to a mysterious caller for about five minutes before they bade farewell following their evening drink. Nyakungu said it appeared the phone conversation the general had was serious going by his facial expressions and hand movements.
“I am also very much interested if by any chance the police or NetOne or Econet can give this court a phone record as to who called the general so as to establish who this person who was being consoled by the general was and what they were talking about,” Joel said.
Nyakungu ruled out that the fire which engulfed the farmhouse was caused by an electric fault. Nyakungu said: “I do not know what caused the fire, but the investigations that we conducted, Zesa is not responsible for the fire that erupted at the general’s farmhouse. It was actually the fire that destroyed Zesa cables at the house. No Zesa equipment on the farm appeared to have started the fire.”
He said through the guidance of Chief Superintendent Crispen Makendenge, he observed that two breakers on the miniature circuit breaker were switched off, meaning they had suffered an electric fault, but others remained on.
“When I arrived at the farm later to carry out investigations, I discovered that the pipes covering the electric wires were burnt to such an extent that the points where a lamp holder will be connected were utterly destroyed. All circuit outlets (single and double) were destroyed; that’s when we suspected that theburning had caused the tripping of (the) breakers,” said Nyakungu.
“I say the fire had burnt the electrical cables because I observed that the wiring contained in the pipes did not have characteristics that showed that they had experienced a fault. In the event of an electric fault, pipes would have suffered a hole or they would have partially been bruised or burnt. However, I observed that pipes that were coming from above had not suffered any damages; the same applies to pipes which were on the walls. Therefore, fire destroyed the electrical setup in the house,” Nyakungu said.
The family’s lawyer Takor Kewada told journalists on Wednesday that in the event that the Mujuru family was not satisfied with findings of local experts, they were at liberty to hire international experts since this wasn’t a trial but an inquest.
“This is an inquest; it’s not a trial, so in the event that we are not satisfied with local experts we are considering calling international experts,”Kewada said.
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