'I miss my husband terribly'

HARARE - Vice President Joice Mujuru has said she terribly misses her late husband, retired army general Solomon Mujuru, whose remains were found at his Beatrice farm following a mysterious fire.

Magistrate Walter Chikwanha in March last year ruled out foul play following evidence gathered at an emotionally-charged inquest.

Mujuru’s remains were found at his Ruzambo farmhouse on August 16, 2011 in Beatrice, south of Harare with the inquest ruling that he died in an accidental fire.

His widow recalled with nostalgia the good times she had with the late decorated general from the time she was a girl guerrilla up until he became deputy head of Mugabe’s liberation army Zanla in the 1970s.

“I really miss my husband, I miss him very much,” Mujuru told the Daily News on Saturday. “Despite him being the father of my children, he was also a colleague of the armed struggle.

“At times, we would call each other just asking where he would be  and not that you would be suspecting anything like girlfriends, but just checking on the safety of your mate.”

She said their relationship had morphed from being a husband and wife affair.

“We were no longer husband and wife, but close friends,” she said in the exclusive interview with the Daily News on the second anniversary of the death of her husband.

“We would gossip and share deep personal secrets as a family and assist each other in political matters both during the liberation struggle and after.”

Asked if she believed she was weaker without her husband, she retorted: “No, I still have the support of war veterans, I am what I am today because of the training I have received from His Excellency. I have received a lot of help from my fellow comrades and from the party in general.”

The family was holding a private memorial service at his Beatrice farm during the weekend, despite applying for the exhumation of the general’s remains for a second autopsy.

Mujuru — whose remains were interred at the National Heroes Acre, a monument for fallen heroes of the 70s struggle against minority white rule — was honoured and remembered at his farmhouse, exactly a year after the courts ruled out foul play in his death.

The Mujuru family lawyer, Thakor Kewada, is on record rejecting accusations that the memorial service amounted to an event for closure and that there was no need for an exhumation.

The family has lodged an application with the outgoing co-ministers of Home Affairs demanding that Mujuru’s body should be exhumed and a proper internationally-approved autopsy conducted by top South African medical examiner Ganas Reggie Perumal.

Perumal proved during the inquest that there was medical malpractice arising in the manner in which the State pathologist Gabriel Gonzales Alvero, who examined Mujuru’s body at One Commando Barracks, conducted the autopsy.

The family wants the 56-year-old South African forensic expert to re-examine the body amid reports the Mujuru family has a healthy amount of skepticism in what the Cuban doctor had testified.

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