HARARE - Former Vice President Joice Mujuru says she will do everything in her power to get to the bottom of the controversial death of her decorated liberation struggle hero husband, Solomon — who she says was murdered before his body was burnt to ashes.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Daily News on Wednesday, Mujuru described the official inquest that looked into Solomon’s death as “wishy-washy”, pointing out that this had left her family with dozens of questions, instead of finding closure.
“There won’t be closure because there was never closure before. You remember us as the family, after the inquest, the local one that was somewhat wishy-washy, we had requested that we be allowed to set up an independent inquest but were declined by the High Court and that left us with a lot of questions on why it was declined.
“Up to now we are still searching for answers, and we hope to find them,” she said.
Speaking in an interview with the United Kingdom-based Sunday Times newspaper recently, Mujuru said she was certain that Rex Nhongo (Solomon’s liberation struggle nom de guerre) had been murdered, but would not say who had carried out the evil assignment.
Her views contrast starkly with the findings of the government-appointed coroner who ruled out foul play following a two-week long inquest — after the late general’s charred remains were retrieved from his Beatrice farm, about 40 kilometres south of Harare in August 2011. In her interview with the British weekly, Mujuru also disputed the official version of the circumstances under which her revered husband died — vowing that the truth would eventually come out.
“There was a blue, blue flame, almost one-and-a-half to two metres high, (which is) not normal at all. It seemed to me there was some kind of accelerant,” she said — referring to the inferno that is said to have taken Solomon’s life.
“I can’t say who did it, but they know the people in power. It will come out,” she added.
Asked in her interview with the Daily News if she and her husband, who was referred to by some as the kingmaker in Zanu PF, were plotting to remove Mugabe from power as far back as 2007, Mujuru said those with proof should come forward and nail her.
“Can they prove it? That is hearsay. I didn’t know that Simba Makoni was forming his party. I didn’t know that (MDC leader Morgan) Tsvangirai was forming his party ... There are some people who just make things,” Mujuru said.
While Mujuru is more restrained on her husband’s death, her brother-in-law, Joel, told the Daily News last year that there was a team that was leading investigations into the death of one of Zimbabwe’s most revered sons.
“There are 12 people leading the investigations and even if I die today they will carry on. We are going to find who killed Solomon. It is not a problem.
“There are a lot of things that should be done during an inquest that were not done with Solomon. Solomon was fast-tracked to the Heroes Acre even when his relatives didn’t know what had happened, why?
“And people say we should not ask questions or seek answers. Who told them to remove his charred remains, anga ari ani kuna Solomon; I am the only one left nevana and my sister.
“And yet when went to the farm his corpse was being carried away. Who told them to take the body? Ndiani akati chitunha ichi ndiSolomon (who identified Solomon’s charred remains). How did they know that? Solomon was burnt beyond recognition, how did Solomon die?” the elder Mujuru queried.
The Mujuru family wanted Rex’s body to be exhumed and re-examined, arguing at the time that the State pathologist, Gonzales Alvero, had done a shoddy job and skipped key processes of the inquest — amid a widespread feeling that the coroner had acted unlawfully and that there had been “behind-the-scenes political interference” in the inquiry.
All this has led the family to make public demands for a second inquest, to examine, among other issues, the exact circumstances that caused the fire that killed Solomon, and whether he was still alive when the fire started.