Tuesday, January 17, 2012

MUJURU INQUEST...PICS ETC......17/01/2012

HARARE - Circumstances surrounding the death of retired army general Solomon Mujuru took a new twist yesterday as fresh evidence emerged in court that he was in the company of an unidentified person when he entered his Ruzambo Farm in Beatrice on the fateful day. 

A driver, Enock Talapenzi also told the court how his wife called Vice President Joice Mujuru after midnight but the phone was not being picked.

But it was the fresh detail presented by a member of a private security company that was manning Mujuru’s farm that brings more controversy to circumstances surrounding the late general’s death last August.

The controversy deepened further when a police officer guarding Mujuru’s farm claimed that he did not see anyone in the company of the late five-star national hero as he made his way to his house. 

This was contrary to the evidence given by the security guard.

Clemence Runhare told regional magistrate Walter Chikwanha, who was presiding over the high-profile court case, that he saw Mujuru in the company of an unknown person as he made his way to his house.

But Runhare’s claims were rebuffed by police officer Augustinos Chinyoka who was stationed a distance from him, saying the late general was alone.

“Before I opened the gate, I noticed that the deceased was in the company of another male person. I did not look closer to identify who the other person was, since I assumed he was the driver. I could not have asked him (Mujuru) who the other person was,” said Runhare.

On the other hand, Chinyoka said: “I took note of the fact that he was alone but, something like a suit was hanging on the back seat.”

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

The high-profile court case was attended by Vice President Joice Mujuru, widow to the late general and close relatives of the Mujuru family.

Security was tight at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts as police officers kept a close eye on any movement, probably because of the presence of the vice president.

Runhare further told the court that: “At around 1:35 and 1:40 am, I heard some noise. The noise is akin to the explosion of bullets. The noise was from the direction of Mujuru’s residence.”

He however changed his statement.

Runhare said that when he got to Mujuru’s house he later assumed the sound he heard was from burning and bursting of asbestos. He further made a U-turn on his assertions and told the court that the sound might have been of gun shots by poachers from the next farm.

The matter was adjourned to today when the Mujuru family lawyer Thakor Kewada from Scanlen and Holderness Legal Practitioners will continue cross-examining the sixth witness, Chinyoka.

“If you were in that room in the farm house would you be able to break one of the windows to escape in the event of a fire?” asked Kewada to which Chinyoka responded by saying he would have been able to break and make his exit.

Another witness who testified included the late general’s personal driver, Talapenzi, who confirmed last seeing Mujuru during the afternoon of August 15.

A bar lady at Beatrice Motel, Portia Kamvura, also testified and confirmed seeing Mujuru on the day. Her evidence was corroborated by Blessing Madzivire, a farmer in the Beatrice area and Tongai Chimuka, a Mujuru family friend, who were also drinking beer with the late general at the motel.

They concurred in court that the late general was not drunk on the day.

“Upon arrival he ordered two tots of John Walker Black Label whiskey blended with soda water. He ordered two more tots and said he didn’t intend to take much beer since he had a journey the following day.

During the time that he talked of the journey I overheard him saying he was passing through Beitbridge. At around 7pm he bade farewell and then I accompanied him together with Madzivire and Douglas Nyakungu to his vehicle,” said Kamvura. 

Prosecutors Sharon Fero and Clemence Chimbari from the Attorney General’s office produced 25 photographs depicting the scene of the fire and five photographs of the post mortem results carried on Mujuru.

A sketch plan of the floor of Ruzambo farm house, homestead and floor layout of the burnt farm house, reports from the Fire Brigade, Zesa, police and three forensic reports from South Africa were also produced as exhibits.

The state told the court that forensic experts had taken skin samples from the late general’s body and that of his daughter Kumbirai to verify whether it was indeed the late Mujuru who had died in the inferno.

Speaking to journalists after the adjournment of the case, vice president Mujuru said she was satisfied with progress made so far. 

She said she hoped that the inquest would unlock facts on what actually transpired when her husband met his death.

“It was a good beginning. It was a good start but in between the period of inquest I was called by his Excellency (Mugabe) since I am at work and then I came back later so some of the witnesses had already finished giving their evidence,” said Mujuru. 

According to the state, the late retired general left his Chisipite home driving an Isuzu KB 250 double cab on August 15 last year. 

He allegedly arrived at Beatrice Motel at 5:30pm where he drank four tots of John Walker Black Label; whiskey diluted with soda water, before proceeding to his farm at 8pm, whereupon arrival Runhare opened the gate for him.

Three police officers namely, Constable Chinyoka, Obert Mark and Lazarus Handikatari were manning the inner gate leading to the general’s yard.

Five minutes later the court heard he drove towards the eastern gate going to maid Rosemary Short’s cottage, where he intended to collect keys to the farm house.

The three later discovered that the general’s house was on fire at 2am.



Zimbabwe Vice President Joice Mujuru (C) leaves the court on January 16, 2012 at the end of first day of the inquest into the death of her husband, former army chief Solomon Mujuru, who was killed last year in a mysterious inferno, in a case that has roiled PresidentRobert Mugabe's party. He died in August 2011 in a fire at his farmhouse in Beatrice, south of Harare, deepening the divide within Mugabe's ZANU-PF party where the general's wife leads a faction perceived as a more moderate wing of ZANU-PF.








The lawyer of Zimbabwe vice president, Thakor Kewada, speaks to journalists as he leaves the court on January 16, 2012 at the end of first day of the inquest into the death of his client's husband, former army chief Solomon Mujuru, who was killed last year in a mysterious inferno, in a case that has roiled President Robert Mugabe's party. He died in August 2011 in a fire at his farmhouse in Beatrice, south of Harare, deepening the divide within Mugabe's ZANU-PF party where the general's wife, Joice Mujuru, leads a faction perceived as a more moderate wing of ZANU-PF.








Zimbabwe Vice President Joice Mujuru (C) speaks to journalists as she leaves the court on January 16, 2012 at the end of first day of the inquest into the death of her husband, former army chief Solomon Mujuru, who was killed last year in a mysterious inferno, in a case that has roiled President Robert Mugabe's party. He died in August 2011 in a fire at his farmhouse in Beatrice, south of Harare, deepening the divide within Mugabe's ZANU-PF party where the general's wife leads a faction perceived as a more moderate wing of ZANU-PF.









Zimbabwean deputy President Joice Mujuru, centre, arrives at the Harare magistrates courts in Harare, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, on the fourth day of the inquest hearing into the mysterious death of her late husband, the powerful retired military general Solomon Mujuru, who died in a fire at his farm in 2011. Some members of the Mujuru family allege that Solomon Mujuru may have been murdered, Zimbabwean state attorneys have said.








Zimbabwean Vice President Joice Mujuru, front, arrives at the Harare magistrates courts in Harare, Wednesday, January, 18, 2012, on the third day of the long awaited inquest hearing into the death of her Husband Solomon Mujuru. The husband of Vice President Joice Mujuru, the powerful retired Gen. Solomon Mujuru, died in a fire and family members have asserted that he may have been murdered, Zimbabwean state attorneys said.







Zimbabwean Vice President Joice Mujuru, left, arrives at the Harare magistrates courts accompanied by Joesph Chinotimba a war veteran leader, in Harare, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, on the third day of the long awaited inquest hearing into the death of her Husband Solomon Mujuru. The husband of Vice President Joice Mujuru, the powerful retired Gen. Solomon Mujuru, died in a fire and family members have asserted that he may have been murdered, Zimbabwean state attorneys said.







Zimbabwean deputy President Joice Mujuru, centre, leaves the Harare magistrates courts accompanied by her daughter Kumbirai in Harare, Tuesday, Jan.17, 2012, on the second day of the long awaited inquest hearing into the mysterious death of her late husbandSolomon Mujuru. Mujuru died in a mysterious fire at his farm in 2011.







Zimbabwean deputy President Joice Mujuru,centre, leaves the Harare magistrates courts in Harare, Monday, Jan, 16, 2012, on the first day of the long awaited inquest hearing into the mysterious death of her late Husband Solomon Mujuru. Mujuru died in a mysterious fire at his farm in 2011.




























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