, HARARE, Feb 6 – A Zimbabwe court on Monday closed an inquest into the death last year of ex-army chief Solomon Mujuru in a mysterious fire, with the magistrate rejecting an application by his family to have his body exhumed.
“This marks the end and closure of the inquiry,” magistrate Walter Chikwanha said after Mujuru’s widow, Vice-President Joice Mujuru, gave her testimony.
Chikwanha had earlier dismissed a request by the Mujuru family to have his body exhumed to determine the cause of his death after witnesses failed to point to the source of the fire which killed the country’s first post-independence army commander.
“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 of witnesses and present his findings to the attorney-general.
Family lawyer Thakor Kewada said some of the evidence could not be relied on.
“Coming to the pathologist. The pathologist himself said he did not t have enough equipment,” Kewada told journalists.
Mujuru died in August in a mysterious fire at his farmhouse in Beatrice, south of Harare.
The former army chief was widely seen as a kingmaker in President Robert Mugabe’s party and was respected across Zimbabwe’s political divide.
His death was followed by speculation that the influential politician was killed by somebody within the ruling ZANU-PF party.
His wife, who was the last in a list of 39 witnesses, said she went to the farm after receiving a telephone call about the fire which had engulfed their farmhouse.
She found her husband’s body still burning in one of the rooms.
Police forensic experts said they failed to establish the cause of the fire, while another expert from the country’s power utility firm ruled out an electric fault as the source of the fire.