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Zimbabwe monitors say upswing in violence follows president’s call for polls this year

By Associated Press, Published: March 31 | Updated: Sunday, April 1, 12:26

HARARE, Zimbabwe — A Zimbabwe violence monitoring group said Saturday there
has been an upswing in violence in the past month since the president said
he will call elections this year even if called-for democratic reforms are
not made.

The Zimbabwe Peace Project said monitors reported a 15 percent increase in
human rights violations that were “directly linked” to the new push for
polls in 2012.

The independent peace monitoring project said President Robert Mugabe’s
efforts to force elections this year resulted in 413 reported cases of
people’s rights being violated in February alone, compared to 365 cases
reported by witnesses in January.

The peace project said party infighting led to one death in eastern Zimbabwe
last month.

It said traditional and community leaders have been recorded as the major
perpetrators of human rights violations in most rural districts.

Voters were also being coerced to attend political meetings and emergency
food supplies were again being used as a political weapon in several
hunger-prone districts, the project said.

State media loyal to Mugabe on Saturday reported that he reiterated what he
said in a broadcast marking his 88th birthday in February that he can call
elections this year with or without democratic reforms.

Mugabe said if reforms are not adopted by May, he will proceed to polling to
end a shaky three-year coalition with the former opposition, the state
Herald newspaper said Saturday.

It said Mugabe was addressing party leaders on Friday. He told them he
wanted a referendum on a new constitution to be held by the end of May.

An all-party panel of lawmakers in charge of constantly delayed rewriting of
constitutional law says it won’t be ready for a referendum before August at
the earliest.

The Herald said Mugabe told members of his party’s policymaking central
committee to advise colleagues in the coalition with Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s party — known as Zimbabwe’s “inclusive government” — that
constitutional and electoral reforms must be quickly completed or he will go
to elections unilaterally.

“Let’s conclude the process, whether we agree or disagree. The dance we have
had ... is over. Let us have an election and end this animal called
inclusive government,” he said, The Herald reported.

He said he would call the poll under the existing constitution and accused
reformers of delaying tactics.

“They are delaying the process arguing on small matters, but we are saying
no, no, no,” he said. “They are out of step. If they haven’t finished in
time, we will do it our way.”

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Mugabe vows to call elections by May

31/03/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe issued his ruling coalition partners an ultimatum on
Friday: conclude the new constitution by May or Zimbabwe holds elections
under the Lancaster House constitution.

Mugabe told a meeting of his Zanu PF party’s central committee that
elections would certainly be held this year to end what he called a
“government of negatives”.

“Let’s conclude the new constitution, whether we agree or disagree. The
dance we have had for the past four years is over. Let us have an elec­tion
and end this animal called inclusive government,” Mugabe said.

Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC-T’s co-chair of a parliamentary committee leading
the process to draw up a new constitution, said earlier this week that he
envisaged a referendum in September.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry Minister Welshman Ncube,
leaders of the MDC factions in the ruling coalition formed after disputed
elections in 2008, are demanding a raft of media, security and electoral
reforms before a new vote.

But Zanu PF is increasingly concerned that its candidate Mugabe, 88 this
year, will not handle the rigours of campaigning if elections are delayed
even by as little as a year.
On Thursday, Mugabe warned some within his party who were opposing his
election push to “go and join the MDC”.

He thundered: “They [MDC factions] are delaying the constitution arguing on
small matters, but we are saying no, no, no. They are out of step. We must
conclude this process. If they haven’t finished in time, we will do it our

“If they reject the constitution, we will go back to the Lancaster House
Constitution, which gave us our independence. That is what we are going to
tell the facilitator [South African President Jacob Zuma].

“Their days are numbered and one should expect that by May we have a
referendum. It is this referendum that should give us the way forward.”
Mugabe fired advance warning to Zuma in anticipation of opposition to his
renewed election push.

“We are a sovereign State and we cannot be led by the government of South
Africa,” he vowed.

So determined is Mugabe to push through with elections that he has offered
to complete the draft constitution over a roundtable with Tsvangirai and

“We want to move on unhindered by little thoughts and in some cases sheer
ignorance. This government is a government of nega­tives. It’s a government
of people who do not want to do things for the people,” said Mugabe, who
chided Finance Minister Tendai Biti for failing to deposit US$200 million
with a fund to revive industries in Bulawayo.

“Bring the document [uncompleted draft constitution] we will complete it
ourselves. We have done it before,” he said.

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Draft Constitution Out in Ten Days

Harare - March 31, 2012 - The long overdue first draft of the new
constitution for Zimbabwe will be out in ten days time, a senior COPAC
official has revealed.

Speaking at a Mass Public Opinion forum on Thursday in Harare Douglas
Mwonzora of the MDC-T confirmed.

“We are just ten days only before we give you a draft constitution for the
people of Zimbabwe to see whether it contains what they want or not…once we
have finished, it will not be a secret it will be given to all stakeholders
and given time to analyse the document.”

On whether elections should be held this or next year, Mwonzora said there
is need to create a level playing field.

"You need to address the super structure first, you need to put conditions
and rules right first before you play the game. Rules of engagement are
contained in a document called the constitution," he said.

Mwonzora lashed at Madhuku’s proposal of a people driven constitution saying
it has never worked the world over.

He said "The alternative that Professor (Lovemore) Madhuku proposes has
never worked anywhere in the world. Tried in Kenya and it failed, tried in
Zambia and it also failed".

The COPAC co-chairperson said elections are beneficial in that it will see
the removal of dictatorship, termination of ruinous policies and practices
of Zanu PF, the commencement of genuine and meaningful elections, bringing
of better days for college students and the return of constitutionalism and
rule of law.

Also present at the function was Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister
David Coltart who said elections in Zimbabwe anytime soon will not benefit
Zimbabwe calling for the distribution of resources to humanitarian issues.

‘I tried to scratch my head for the whole night to try and find the possible
benefits of an election in the country but I could not find one,” Coltart

Zanu PF sympathiser Goodson Nguni said Zanu PF is going to pull out of the
GNU and go ahead with the elections with or without a new constitution.

"Like the president has said we will have elections this year,” Nguni said.

Zanu PF has vowed that they want elections to be held this year with or
without a new constitution while the other parties - MDC formations and
Mavambo - are saying elections should be held only after a new constitution.

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'COPAC draft frightening' - Charamba - with comments

By Staff Reporter 30/03/2012 12:58:00

ROBERT Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba says the whole constitution making
process has been hit by what he called irreconcilable political differences
among the GPA parties after COPAC failed to come up with a draft
constitution despite having been given many deadlines.

Charamba, who is also the Robert Mugabe Spokesperson and his views often
reflects those of his boss, revealed that the constitution making process
has become inconclusive as COPAC has only managed to produce what can be
described as drafts of drafts which cannot be presented to the management

He said this while presenting a public lecture to the Joint Command and
Staff Course Number 25, in Harare.

“The drafters have done so many attempts, what they produced is just a
document which reflects COPAC interests way away from the people’s view; it
has nothing clear to hand to the management committee, they are just drafts
of drafts, and the thinking in those drafts get one to wonder why the
national thinking, if one it is, seems so susceptible,” said Mr Charamba.

Charamba told officers drawn from the region that parts of the so-called
COPAC draft is so contaminated with frightening clauses which puts the
country’s sovereignty at stake.

He said it is his personal belief that President Robert Mugabe is right by
always insisting on elections without a new constitution since the
constitution making process is inconclusive.

"When faced with such a situation when you want to connect things that
cannot be connected, the whole thing is prone to a dead end and it will be a
miracle to try to invent a constitution that can be made in 21 days. Surely,
elections is the way to go and whoever emerges the winner must then deal
with the issue of the constitution,” said the Presidential Spokesperson.

Turning to the role of the media in nation building, Charamba expressed
concern over attempts by COPAC to gag the media from covering constitutional
issues saying such threats should be resisted.



Mash Mallow · 1 day ago
Urimbwa yemunhu, kutu chaiyo iwe Charamba, what is in the draft is what we
gave during the outreach. Why do you want to say it is not the people's
views, is it because the powers are being given to us povo that you feel so
frightened? This is what we want, it is better than the one you want whereby
you withhold election results for 6 weeks without anyone questioning and
where you have a results centre stuffed by Munangagwa and the lot. Gore rino
hamulume nomatter what even if you try to sway people's minds for chakatanga
ndochakachenjedza. We shall overwhelmingly vote "Yes" for this constitution
just wait and see. Where in that draft is the sovereignity of Zimbabwe at
stake, Zanu PF is not Zimbabwe as it is the one that feels powers are
slipping from their noses. Loot for the last time George for power now
belongs to the people.
Madden · 1 day ago
Agreed 100%. No further comment!
Dewa sai · 21 hours ago
I totally agree with you , enough is enough .
dhebhukai · 13 hours ago
Taurai zvenyu. Magona.
yaya · 1 day ago
But who is charamba panyaya dzecopac?
Chinese Puppets · 22 hours ago
You can rest assured that anything in the draft that Charamba finds
objectionable will definitely be good for democracy and good for the people
of Zimbabwe.

Thats why tyrants like Mugabe and his Military dictatorship will use every
trick in the book to ensure he retains his autocratic powers.

They simply will not accept anything other than a government in which one
person possesses unlimited power.

An educated criminal like Mugabe is almost invariably an inveterate egotist,
with a massively overinflated opinion of himself, who can only see his own
point of view, listens but doesn't hear, and likes to be surrounded by yes

Underestimate Mugabe and his JOC parallel government thugs at your peril.
dhebhukai · 13 hours ago
Takazvona izvozvo kare kare. Kutya ndiko kwakatiputira maZimbabweans.

SuperT · 12 hours ago
Zimbabweans have all the reasons in the world to be frightened especially
when the supposedly creme -de-la-creme of Zimbabwe's constitutional and
legal minds haplessly allow foreigners to draw up the draft for us under the
cover of COPAC. This is unheard of all over the world that foreigners, no
matter how brainy they may be, dictate what goes into a draft constitution
of a country. In its current form, the draft is an affront to the
aspirations and dignity of the great nation of Zimbabwe and hence
progressive minds will reject it. The worst insult of all is that COPAC
opted for a South African expert to direct the drafting ahead of our very
own brainy and world renown Madhuku, who could have done better. What is it
that this expert from SA has that son of the soil Madhuku does not have? I
wonder. The love of everything alien will be Zimbabwe's downfall. When it
comes to constitutional matters, in my opinion, local is definitely better
than foreign.

Ndatenda Hangu/ Siyabonga

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Application for stay of community service dismissed

A Harare magistrate, Mr. Kudakwashe Jarabini has ruled that Welcome Zimuto,
and five civic society activists Munyaradzi Gwisai, Hopewell Gumbo, Antoneta
Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara and Edson Chakuma should perform community
service while they wait for the High Court to hear their appeal against both
conviction and sentence.
by Student Solidarity Trust

The six were sentenced to twenty-four months in custody of which twelve
months were suspended for five years on condition that they don’t commit a
similar offence. The other twelve months were suspended on condition that
they pay a US$500 fine and perform four hundred and twenty hours of
community service at their nearest government institution. Magistrate
Kudakwashe Jarabini last week found the six guilty on charges of Conspiracy
to commit public violence as defined in section 188 as read with section 36
of the Criminal Law (codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23].

The six had argued that It would be prejudice should their appeal be granted
since the appeal process takes long and the grounds of their appeal are
highly prospective of an overturn in the high court. The six also felt that
the state would not suffer any prejudice since even if their appeal is
thrown out; they will still would go for the community service.

Today’s ruling means that Welcome and five others will start their community
service tomorrow .Zimuto, a former Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU)
Deputy Secretary General will be doing his community service at Chinhoyi
Provincial Hospital.

The SST condemns in the strongest terms the heavy handedness shown by Mr.
Jarabini. We conclude that the political message is that Zimbabweans are not
expected to freely and peacefully associate, even in the confines of their
private and protected spaces; they are not expected to freely express their
views, legitimately critique public officers, or express their dissent.
Zimbabweans will not be allowed to question the authority of those who hold
national and political office even where such officers may have failed to
deliver on their mandate and obligations.

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Zanu PF blocks Chiyangwa election

31/03/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

PHILLIP Chiyangwa’s bid to run for MP in Chinhoyi suffered a major reversal
this week after the Zanu PF politburo and central committee nullified his
election as the party’s vice chairman in Mashonaland West.

The property tycoon beat Reuben Marumahoko on March 16 in an internal Zanu
PF vote, and many thought that marked the end of his rehabilitation after
his expulsion in 2006.

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said: “There were reports recently that
Comrade Chiyangwa was elected as the vice chairman for Mashonaland West

“The politburo on Wednesday reviewed that case and nullified the election.
The decision was endorsed by the Central Committee on Friday.
“Comrade Chiyangwa will remain as an ordinary member of the party until
further notice.”

Zanu PF expelled Chiyangwa on March 20, 2006, exactly two years after he was
charged with espionage, although he was acquitted by a High Court judge in

The Zanu PF constitution says a member cannot be re-admitted into the party
until after five years have lapsed since their expulsion.

Chiyangwa’s expired last year and he was re-admitted into the party last
November as an ordinary member, but it appears Zanu PF is determined to
extend his pain by blocking him from holding office.

After his purported election, Chiyangwa had set his eyes on the Chinhoyi
parliamentary seat, but those plans now appear in jeopardy.

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Fresh water shortages strike Harare

Often in times of political unrest, the most severe casualty is the shortage of basic human needs. Currently the most severe of these basic shortages is the fresh supply of drinking water in the capital Harare.

People queing for water in Harare.
People queing for water in Harare.

Locals in this urban area queue for hours for a bucket of water from manmade boreholes, often extracting tainted water. In August 2008 the country faced a major Cholera outbreak that threatened to bring the entire country to its knees (WHO Report: 2008). Over 10 billion US dollars was donated from the international community to overhaul and rebuild the country’s, especially it’s urban areas’ water supply chains (UNICEF:2009). Now, four years later, the ruling party has done little to repair the problem as locals in highly populated areas still queue for water and disease runs rife.

The most concerning discovery brought to light by the World Health Organisation’s weekly disease report in Zimbabwe shows that there is a startling spike in the prevalence of preventable water-borne diseases such as Typhoid and Malaria, assumedly aggravated by excess stagnant water causing a steady rise in the parasite carrier’s birth (WHO Epidemiological Report, 5-11 March 2012).

This footage illustrates the mounting frustration and helplessness of locals who are forced to queue for water even in urban areas like Harare. Fights break out as locals desperate for water try and get their share.

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Zimbabwe coal industry seen hinging on power plants

Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:53pm GMT

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The future of Zimbabwe's coal mining industry
depends on the government's commitment to construction of more power
stations to create demand for low grades of coal, an industry executive said
on Friday.

"As far as I am concerned, power stations are a pre-requisite for any future
mining in Zimbabwe," Bob Henson, managing director of CoalZim told a
Zimbabwe coal conference.

The country is currently wasting tonnes of low-grade coal by backfilling it
into mining pits because there are no takers.

Henson said Zimbabwe's industries have yet to recover from near collapse
during its years of hyperinflation, and demand for coal has yet to recover.

Coal production at 2.5 million tonnes in 2011 is half the more than 5.5
million tonnes produced at the industry's peak in 1991, and there is very
little chance of production returning despite coal mining being deregulated.

"I don't think there is big potential for further mine development. Where
there is potential, the capital will not come in until there is a promise of
a market," Henson said.

Zimbabwe's economy is showing signs of a fragile recovery after a decade of
contraction, and while the government has acknowledged that mining is a
lifeline to a prosperous future, investment in the sector has stalled.

Nineteen coal exploration projects are underway, But Themba Hawadi, a
director at the Zimbabwe Geological Survey, said the country must open up to
more investment.

Red tape and resource nationalism mean that an application for an
exploration permit could take a year or longer to be processed, he added.

"We are at the stage where we think more (awarding of grants) should be
considered," Hawadi said.

The Zimbabwe Geological Survey has a mandate to monitor and supervise
mineral exploration activities under President Robert Mugabe's government
and it has recently increased the application fees from $5,000 to $100,000.

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Findings of Mujuru inquest

Herald, Thursday, 29 March 2012

These are the findings in respect of the inquest
held regarding the death of the late Retired
General Solomon Tapfumaneyi Mujuru. The late
General is alleged to have died between the night
of the 15th of August and the morning of the 16th
of August 2011.

The factual background leading to the death of
the Retired General is as follows: On the 15th of
August 2011, the deceased left his Chisipite home
in the afternoon alone, driving his white Double
Cab Isuzu KB250 registration number ABT 0266,
going to his farm called Ruzambo Farm in the
Beatrice area.  Ordinarily the deceased was
supposed to be driven by his personal driver,
Enoch Talapenzi, but on this day he went alone
because he sent Talapenzi to Mr Savanhu's farm to
collect a ridger, which was later taken to the

On his way to the farm the decease passed through
Beatrice Motel where he drank four (4) tots of
Johnnie Walker Black Label Old Scotch Whisky
mixed with soda water. At the motel the deceased
was in company of various and regular patrons.
The deceased later left the motel alone, and
arrived at this farm at around 2000 hours. Upon
arrival at the farm he drove though the first
security gate that was manned by a security guard
called Clemence Runhare and he also drove through
the second security gate that is manned by
officers from Zimbabwe Republic

Police, VIP Protection Unit. This second gate is
the farmhouse gate that leads to Ruzambo
farmhouse where the decease used to reside whilst
at the farm. He drove past the gate, after
briefly conversing with one of the police
officers and went to the farmhouse.
It is pertinent to highlight that during that
time from around 1701 hours there was no
electricity around the Beatrice area, including
at Ruzambo Farm, due to Zesa load-shedding.
Electricity was only restored at 2054 hours.

After spending about five (5) minutes at the
farmhouse, in the yard, the deceased drove out of
the first gate guarded by the police officers and
told them that he was going to get the farmhouse
keys from one Rosemary Short, his maid, who
resided at the farm compound which is situated
about three (3) kilometre's from the farmhouse.
After leaving the first gate, in order to access
the farm compound, the deceased had to pass
through another security gate, which is situated
east of the farm and which on the day was guarded
by a security guard called Samuel Lewis. He
passed through this gate and went to Rosemary
Short's dwellings at the farm compound.

The deceased met Rosemary Short and from whom he
requested one (1) key that opens the kitchen door
of the farmhouse. He was given the key by
Rosemary, after having explained to her that he
had left his in Harare and he then drove back to
the farmhouse.  On the way to the farmhouse, the
decease passed though Ruzambo shop complex gate
which was manned by one Ernest Nyamanja, the
eastern gate which was manned by Samuel Lewis and
the inner farmhouse gate which was manned by
three Zimbabwe Republic Police police officers -
Augustinos Chinyoka, Obert Mark and Lazarous
Handikatari. The three are all constables. The
deceased parked his motor vehicle in the
farmhouse yard and retired to bed.  He never came
out of the farmhouse or yard again.

On the morning of 16 August 2011 at around 0140
hours, one of the police offices, Constable
Chinyoka, who was on duty that time, noticed
smoke coming out through the roof of the
farmhouse. He went to the house to investigate
and he discovered that the farmhouse was on fire.
He immediately alerted his colleagues who were
asleep and they together with other farm
labourers, whom they had awaken and called, and
battled to fight the fire in order to put it out
and at the same time make efforts to locate the

The house was engulfed by fire which was so
intense to the extent that at one time the heat
in and around the house reached 530 degrees.
They also informed Beatrice Police Station who
in turn summoned the Harare Fire Bridge and Zesa
to the farmhouse to attend to the fire.
The body of the deceased was only located after
0345 hours as it was still burning in the mini
lounge of the farmhouse.  The body was later
conveyed to One (1)

Commando Barracks mortuary where it was certified
dead by Doctor Annamore Jamu and a post-mortem
was carried out by Dr Gabriel Gonzalez, a
forensic pathologist.

These are the circumstances surrounding the death
of the deceased, which will now be looked at in
detail in an endeavour to comply with the
provisions and requirements of the law, that is
the Inquest Act, Chapter 7:07 together with the

This inquiry was done in terms of the provisions
of the Inquest Act, of which Section 6(1) (b)
provides as follows:
(1)    Upon receiving the report mentioned in Section five, the Magistrate
(b) If in his opinion the circumstances of the
case require it, hold an inquest for the purpose
of ascertaining the cause of the death or refer
the report to such other

Magistrate as the Attorney-General may direct in
order that such an inquest may be held".

Section twelve (12) of the same Act provides as follows:
"The Minister responsible for Justice, after
consultation with the Chief Justice, may make
rules for regulating the practice and procedure
at or in connection with inquests".

These rules were indeed made by the Minister and
are provided for in Statutory Instrument Number
129 of 1998 and are referred to as:
"Inquests Rules 1998"

Rule 6 (a) and (b) of these rules is pertinent and it provides as follows:
"The proceedings and evidence at an inquest shall
be directed solely to ascertaining:

(a)    Who the decease was?
(b)    How, when and when the deceased came to his death?

Rule 7 goes further to provide limitations on
what the court should do, as follows:
"The Magistrate shall not express any opinion or
any matter other than those mentioned in rule 6".
A lot of evidence was adduced during the
hearing, some of which had nothing to do with the
four issues stated in the rules. The court will
not comment on such evidence, as it is not
relevant and also because of the restrictions
clearly stated in rule (7) of the rules.

The provisions of the law as stated above are the
ones that will guide the court in the findings
that the court will make.  The purpose of the
inquest was as provided for in section 6 (1) (b)
of the Inquest Act, that is
"ascertaining the cause of death

In ascertaining the cause of death the court is
required to find out as to who the deceased was,
how, when where the decease came to his death" as
provided for by rule 6 (a) and (b) of the inquest

I will now deal with the issues as highlighted in the rules.

Evidence was led in court that as people who were
at he scene were battling to put the fire out,
they were also looking for the deceased who they
could not locate.  The three Police Officers who
were guarding the farm house and who first
discovered the fire informed the court that as
they were putting out the fire with others they
were making efforts to try and locate the
deceased. They believed that the deceased was in
the house the last time they had seen him was
when he passed the gate entering the yard into
the farmhouse. When he was coming from collecting
keys to the farmhouse from Rosemary Short, he had
told them that he was going to retire for the
night and never came out of the house or from the
yard thereafter.

Rosemary Short, who is the maid of the deceased,
and one of the last people to talk to the
deceased, told the court that after she was told
about the fire, her first question to the Police
Officers was whether or not they had located the
deceased.  When she herself reached the
farmhouse, her pre-occupation was to look for the
decease. This was because the deceased had come
to her to collect keys to the farmhouse and the
deceased had told her that he was going to retire
to bed at the farmhouse.  The deceased had even
intimated to her that he might even consider to
sleep in his motor vehicle that night and to her
this was neither strange nor surprising as he at
one time or another slept in his vehicle.

When Rosemary arrived at the house, therefore,
she was certain that if the Police and Security
Guards had not seen the deceased leaving the
premises for the second time after he had
collected house keys from her then the deceased
was in the house and it was critical that they
looked for him.  Even the widow, the Vice
President, after being informed of the fire,
spoke to, amongst other people, Albert Alufandika
the gardener and Rosemary Short, over the
cellphone and urged them to locate the deceased.
Upon his arrival at the scene besides
co-ordinating efforts to put out the fire,
Inspector Dube, the Officer in Charge of Beatrice
Police Station exerted efforts and directed
people to peep through the windows so as to try
and locate the deceased. All this occurred
because as far as everyone was concerned at the
time the fire started, the deceased was in the

After hours of battling with the fire when the
fire had somehow died down but not completely, a
body which was burning was discovered along the
passage leading into the mini lounge from the
main bedroom. This body was described by
witnesses like Inspector Dube, Constable
Handikatari and his colleagues, Alufandika the
gardener, Rosemary Short, Investigating Officer
Chief Superintendent Makedenga, experts like
Police Forensic Director Mutandiro and Forensic
Pathologist Dr Gabriel

Gonzalez and others, as a charred body that had
been extensively burnt beyond recognition. It was
therefore necessary for proper identity to be
done since the body had been burnt beyond
From the evidence that was adduced the court made
the following observations in regards to the
identity if the deceased.  There was no direct
evidence of the fact that the body which was
discovered in the house is that of the Retired
General Solomon Mujuru.  The body was burnt
beyond recognition, hence there was no one who
could positively assert and identify the body as
that of the Retired General.  There was, however,
the use of circumstantial and scientific evidence
to identify the body as that of the Retired

(1) Circumstantial evidence

As already alluded elsewhere above, the deceased
was seen by witness leaving his Chisipite
residence alone.  He arrived at Beatrice Motel
alone and left the Motel alone.  This was stated
in court by the bar lady of Beatrice Motel,
namely Portia Kamvura and patrons at the Motel
like Blessing Madzimure, Tongai Chimuka and
Douglas Nyakanga. When he left the Motel he was
accompanied to his vehicle by Portia, Blessing
and Douglas and they saw him driving off alone.
The Retired General also arrived at the farm
alone as was stated by Security Guard Samuel
Lewis and the Police Officers, Constables
Chinyoka, Mark and Handikatari.  I am aware there
is evidence of one witness Clemence Runhare who
stated that he was in the company of someone when
he arrived at the gate that he was manning.  I
will be commenting on Mr Runhare's observations
in detail later.

The Retired General was also seen by Earnest
Nyamanja another Security Guard and Rosemary
Short alone.  He conversed with Rosemary and he
never intimated that he was in the company of
someone.  The perception that the court got from
the evidence adduced is that the relationship
between the deceased and Rosemary was such that
if the deceased was in the company of someone, he
would have told Rosemary.

Clemence Runhare is the only witness who stated
that when he saw the Retired General he was in
company of someone else whom he identified as his
driver Talapenzi. The court has reservations in
the observations made by Mr Runhare on this day.
This is so because of the following reasons:
Firstly he identified that person who was with
the General as Mr Talapenzi, his personal driver,
but it is common cause that Mr Talapenzi was at
Chisipite at that relevant time.  He was
definitely not in the company of the Retired
General as he himself confirmed that and he is
the one who received a telephone call from
Rosemary about the fire whilst he was at
Chisipite.  This clearly shows that Mr Runhare's
observations in this respect is totally faulty.
Mr Talapenzi is the one who also drove the
Honourable Vice President to the farm on the
morning of the 16th, after hearing the news of
the fire. Secondly, it has been accepted from
evidence that there was no electricity at the
farm because of load shedding by Zesa and the
witness himself admitted that when the General
arrived it was dark, there was no source of
lighting, the

General did not light the interior of his motor
vehicle and he was standing at a distance of
about two metres from the General's motor
vehicle, surely for him to have made some
observations in the circumstances as described
above, is in the court's view not possible. The
cumulative effect of these factors, that it was
at night, there was no electricity, the interior
of the vehicle was not lit, there was a
considerable distance from where the witness was
standing and the driver's door let alone the
passenger side of the vehicle and that the
deceased spent very little time at the gate, are
such that they effected the accuracy of the
witness's observations.  No wonder why he failed
to see a suit that was hanged in the vehicle and
he identified this so-called person as Talapenzi
when evidence is clear that Talapenzi had been
left at Chisipite by the deceased.

Thirdly, as already alluded to above evidence has
been led that there was a suit that was hanged
inside the deceased's motor vehicle.  Constable
Mark told the court that when the deceased
arrived at the gate, he noticed that there was a
jacket that was hanged inside the motor vehicle.
Rosemary Short also told the court that besides
the groceries, this jacket was one of the items
she removed from the motor vehicle of the
deceased on the morning of the 16th after the
fire.  In its analysis of the evidence it is,
further, the court's finding that in view of the
darkness, and the other factors that affected Mr
Runhare's observations as described in (two)
above, the witness might have possibly mistaken
the hanged jacket which was in the vehicle to be
a human being.

Fourthly all the witness who interacted with the
deceased from the time he left his Chisipite
house, to the time he went to Beatrice Motel and
later ended up at the farm, insisted that the
deceased was travelling alone. Even the other
Security Guards whom he saw at the eastern gate
(Samuel Lewis) and the other one who guards the
gate leading to the farm shop (Earnest Nyamanja)
both also saw the deceased alone.  It therefore
boggles the mind how Mr Runhare and him alone
observed that the deceased was in the company of
the someone. That obviously make the court
conclude that it is either the witness is not
telling the truth, or his memory is failing him
or his observations were faulty for he reasons
illustrated in three above.

For the four reasons I had given above I am not
convinced at all that the observations made by Mr
Runhare on this day were correct. His
observations  and perceptions of events on that
day are faulty, hence the court will not accept
them. Even if, however, the court was to accept
that indeed Mr Runhare saw the deceased in the
company of someone, that person did not enter the
farmhouse.  There is a distance of about three
hundred  metres (300) between Mr Runhare's outer
gate and the farmhouse gate guarded by the Police.

When the deceased reached the farmhouse gate
guarded by the Police Officers, he stopped his
motor vehicle, he lit the interior of his motor
vehicle and, according to Constable Mark, he even
conversed with the Police Officers asking them if
everything was well at the farm.  The Police
Officers did not see anyone in the motor vehicle,
the deceased was alone. What they saw was a
jacket, which was hanged in the motor vehicle.
These officers had clearer and better
observations and perception of the events than Mr
Runhare.  This is because the deceased lit the
interior of his vehicle hence they were able to
see clearly what and who was in the vehicle, the
deceased spent more time in their sight between
10 and 30 seconds) unlike with Mr Runhare as they
conversed with him and they were three of them
who all agreed that the deceased was alone.
Constable Mark who was closer to the deceased was
standing a distance about 30 cm from the
deceased's door, a distance which is much closer
as compared to Runhare who made his observations
at a distance of one to two metres.

The court is therefore convinced that at the
relevant time when the deceased entered the
farmhouse yard for the first time arriving from
the Motel and for the second time coming from
Rosemary's house, he was alone. Even if one is to
argue that Mr Runhare saw him with someone, that
is neither here nor there because when he entered
the farmhouse he was alone, he was not in the
company of anyone.  He would not have even told
Rosemary (the maid) about the possibility of him
sleeping in his motor vehicle on that day if he
was in the company of another person.

One would note that the court has dedicated more
time on this aspect because it is important and
it has a bearing on the identity of the burnt
body that was found in the house.  This is
because if there were two people who entered the
farmhouse that day, then it will obviously be
difficult it not impossible to conclude that the
body that was burnt beyond recognition is that of
the deceased.

The farmhouse is guarded 24 hours a day by
trained Police Officers.  There were three Police
Officers who would be on the twelve (12) hours
duty.  At the relevant time Constable Chinyoka
was on duty whilst Constables Mark and
Handikatari were asleep as they were not on duty.
Unfortunate insinuations were made against the
Police Officers that they were asleep on duty,
which is not true.  The two who were asleep were
not on duty at all.  Constable Chinyoka is the
one who was on duty, no wonder why he is the one
who discovered the fire at 0140 hours  and later
alerted his colleagues.  Constable Chinyoka
stated in his evidence that the perimeter fence
was well secured and no one entered the farmhouse
or farmhouse yard besides the deceased.

In light of the above observations the court can
safely make a finding that the only person who
entered the farmhouse at the relevant time and
who was in the house at the time of the fire was
the Retired General, the deceased.  This explains
why when the fire was discovered everyone
involved made frantic efforts to locate the
Retired General.  It is because they knew that he
had entered the farmhouse on returning from
Rosemary Short's house and he had entered alone.

From the evidence adduced the court noted that
this is the basis upon which the Police concluded
that the charred body which was burnt beyond
recognition and which was found in the house
belonged to the Retired General Solomon Mujuru.
The use of circumstantial evidence is a way of
reasoning which draws probable conclusions from
facts that are known.  It is a process of
inferential reasoning which is based on facts
that would have been proved in court and such
inference must be reasonable and in criminal law,
the requirements go further to state that it must
be the only reasonable inference.

What is before the court is that the Retired
General had been seen travelling alone when he
left Chisipite.  He arrived alone at Beatrice
Motel.  He left Beatrice Motel alone heading for
the farm.  The last people to see him when he
retired to bed were the Police Officers who guard
his premises and who confirmed that he was alone
when he retired to bed.  No one entered his
premises, after he retired to bed.  He is the
only person who was inside the farmhouse at the
time that the fire started.

All these facts point in a particular direction
and all these facts are in harmony with the
hypothesis being analysed that the body that had
been burnt beyond recognition is that of Retired
General Solomon Mujuru.  This is an inference
which is based on
facts adduced in court and one which is reasonable in the circumstances.

The conclusion therefore made by the Police that
the body belonged to that of the Retired General
was reasonable, as this is the only conclusion
that one could arrive at in the circumstances.

The Police also confirmed the identify of the
deceased through forensic evidence by doing a DNA
analysis. DNA evidence is at times referred to as
an example of circumstantial evidence, but there
are others who argue that it is a form of direct
scientific evidence. This, however, is not
relevant for the purposes of this ruling.

Evidence was adduced in court from the Police in
the form of Investigating Officer Makedenge and
Police Forensic Director Mutandiro that a sample
of flesh was removed from the body of the
deceased for purposes of extracting a DNA sample.
When this sample of flesh was removed from the
deceased's body one of the deceased's relatives,
his nephew called Mudiwa Mundawarara, was
present. A comparison blood sample was obtained
from Kumbirai Rungano Mujuru, the female child of
the deceased. Again Mr Mundawarara was present
when this was done.
i) The samples were sent for DNA analysis in the
Biology Section at the Forensic Science
Laboratory of South Africa Police Services in
Pretoria. The DNA analysis was done by a Warrant
Officer in the South African Police Service
called Dumisani Porcia Chauke. She concluded
after the analysis, that the probability of the
person discovered burnt beyond recognition of
being the father of Kumbirai Rungano Mujuru is
99.90 percent. This, according to her, is a
strong statistical calculation of the evidence.
This therefore confirms that the body discovered
in the house is that of the Retired General
Solomon Mujuru. Refusing to accept this evidence
would lead to the improbable coincidence that the
person who was burnt in the house is Kumbirai
Mujuru's father who was not General Mujuru.

The court, however, noted that the DNA analysis
was done well after the burial of the deceased.
This in the court's view was inappropriate on the
part of the Police. I do appreciate that there
was strong circumstantial evidence, which I have
already analysed above, which pointed to the
identity of the body as that of the Retired
General Mujuru. If the Police felt that they
needed even stronger evidence regarding the
identity of the body in the form of DNA analysis,
then it made no sense for them to authorise
burial before that issue was cleared. The
Director of Forensic, Mr Mutandiro, admitted in
court that it was an oversight on their part and
fortunately the DNA results were consistent with
the factual conclusions that they had already

In conclusion therefore having analysed the
circumstantial evidence and the forensic evidence
as stated above, the court can safely  conclude
in answering the first question of this inquest
as to "who the deceased was," that the charred
body that was discovered in the farm house, is
that of  the Retired General Solomon Mujuru.

The next issue that requires to be ascertained by
this court is as to when the deceased came to his
The evidence before the court is that the now
deceased arrived at the farm on the night of 15
August 2011, around 2000 hours. According to the
Police Officers who were manning the gate, namely
Constables Mark and Handikatari, after the
deceased had entered the farmhouse yard, he
stayed there for five minutes and later came out.
When he arrived at the gate he told them that he
was going to Rosemary Short's house to collect
keys to the farmhouse. He later came back after
about fifteen (15) minutes, the gate was opened
by Constable Chinyoka whom he told that he was
now going to retire to bed. According to Rosemary
Short, the Retired General Mujuru came to her
house around 2000 hours and requested her to give
him keys to the farmhouse because he had
forgotten his in Harare.

It is also around this time that the Security
Guards who are namely Samuel Lewis (guarding the
eastern gate that leads to the farm compound) and
Ernest Nyamanja (guarding the gate that leads
into the farm shop), also saw Retired General
The sequence of events in terms of time on the
movement of deceased are as follows, the deceased
first entered the farmhouse around 2000 hours, he
went out after five (5) minutes (around 2005
hours) going to collect the farm house keys from
Rosemary Short. He came back and re-entered the
farmhouse after fifteen (15) minutes whereupon he
informed Constable Chinyoka who opened the gate
for him that he was now retiring for the night.
This was the last time the deceased was seen.

The last people to see the now deceased,
therefore are the Police Officers who were
manning the farmhouse gate. They last saw him on
the night of 15 August 2011 at around 2020 hours.
The fire was first discovered by Constable
Chinyoka on morning of the 16th August 2011 at
around 0140 hours.

It is not known at that time whether the Retired
General Mujuru had died or not, because no such
evidence was brought before the court. It is also
not known from the time the fire was first
discovered around 0140 hours up to the time the
charred body was discovered around 0345 hours,
whether he was dead or alive because, again, no
such evidence was brought before the court.
What is, however, clear to the court from the
analysis of evidence before it, is that as at
around 2020 hours on 15 August 2011, the Retired
General Mujuru  was alive and as at 03454 hours
on the morning of 16 August 2011 he was dead.
The court can therefore, safely conclude that the
Retired General Mujuru died between the hours of
2020 hours on the night of 15 August 2011 and
0345 hours on the morning of 16 August 2011.

The law also requires the court to make a finding
as to where the deceased met his death. This
obviously refers to the place and or position
where the deceased met his death.

This issue has already been exhaustively
discussed elsewhere in this ruling. The deceased
entered the farmhouse at around 2020 hours on the
night of 15 August 2011. His burnt and charred
body was later discovered in the farmhouse. The
position where the body was discovered in the
house was clearly marked in exhibit three (3),
that is the sketch plan,  in the passage of a
room called the mini lounge.  This mini lounge is
the room next to the main bedroom, where the
deceased is believed to have gone to sleep.

The answer therefore to the third issue the court
is required to ascertain on, is that the deceased
met his death inside the farmhouse, on the
passage of the mini-lounge at Ruzambo Farm in the
Beatrice area.

The fact that I have alluded to elsewhere in the
ruling is that after the Retired General Mujuru
entered the farm house purportedly to retire for
the night as stated by Constable Chinyoka, he
never came out alive.

Constable Chinyoka is the Police Officer who was
on duty. During the course of the night he would
make regular patrols in an around the farmhouse
yard. According to his evidence, the purpose of
these patrols was to protect the person of the
deceased and his property and further to ensure
that there were no intruders.
After the deceased had entered the yard to retire
for the night as stated above, the next event
that occurred is that Constable Chinyoka when
carrying out one of his regular patrols observed
that the farmhouse was on fire. It is after that
fire that the deceased's charred body was
discovered, burnt beyond recognition.

In order to inquire and find out how the deceased
died and how the fire started the court analysed
the following forms of evidence,
I)     Evidence of witnesses who interacted and
met the deceased just before he went to bed.
II)     Investigations by the Police
III)    Investigations by the Fire Brigade
IV)    Investigations by the Police Forensic Unit
V)    Investigations by the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authrity (ZESA) official
VI)     Findings of the Doctor who conducted the postmortem
VII)    Findings of the South African Forensic Scientists

The court will now analyse the nature of evidence
of the group of witnesses stated above in an
effort to ascertain what caused the death of the

i) The last witnesses to meet the deceased
The last witnesses to meet the deceased were as
follows, Clemence Runhare (Security Guard), the
three Constables Chinyoka, Mark and Handikatari,
Samuel Lewis, Rosemary Short (the maid) and
Ernest Nyamanja (the Shop Security Guard).

Mr Runhare first met the deceased the first time
as he entered the farm arriving from Beatrice
Motel.  The court has already dealt at length
with his evidence when he met the deceased at
that time. What is pertinent is what transpired
after the deceased had retired for the night.
He told the court that at around 0220 to 0225
hours in the morning as he was at his point of
guard he heard some noise which sounded like
explosion of bullets. It is at that same time
that he also met another guard who l From Page 8
came to where he was and told him that had also
heard some sounds. The court noted the confusion
the witnesses had. At one time he changed and
stated that the time he heard bullet explosions
was around 11pm and the other time 12 midnight.
Every time he was asked a question he would come
out with a different time.

He was generally not an impressive witness.
He is also the same witness and the only one for
that matter who claimed to have seen the General
in the company of someone when he arrived at the
What is pertinent about this witness' evidence in
relation  to the cause of death are his
assertions that he heard some noise which sounded
like explosion of bullets.

It is in the context that his evidence will be
considered together of Samuel Lewis, the other
security guard, who also told the court that he
heard some sounds of something bursting and that
made him to run to the point of guard where
Runhare was situated. They heard the same sound
together and they ran towards the farmhouse where
they discovered that the house was on fire.

It is important at this juncture to point out
that at no point in Runhare's evidence did he
state that he heard sounds of gun shots but
instead he said he heard sounds of explosion of
bullets. It is further important to clarify that
at no point during his evidence did Samuel Lewis
state that he heard sounds of gun shots but
instead he indicated that he heard sounds of
something bursting.

Even when it was put to him that in his statement
he had written that he heard sounds of gun shots
he refused to confirm that by keeping quite.
The court is in fact more comfortable in
accepting what he said in court because he is not
the one who wrote his statement as he can neither
write nor read.
Upon his arrival at the house, Runhare told the
court he discovered that the sound which
initially he had assumed to be of bullets
explosion was in fact caused by asbestos sheets
that were cracking and exploding.  The basis of
him to make such a conclusion was because that
same sound he had heard whilst still at his point
of guard at the gate, is the same sound that was
being produced by the exploding asbestos sheets.

Samuel Lewis also told the court that when he
arrived at the farm house in the company of
Runhare he established that the bursting sound he
had heard whilst at this point of guard was in
fact caused by asbestos sheets that were cracking
and bursting.
From the evidence of these two witnesses, it is
clear that at no time did anyone of them hear
sounds of gun shots because none of them ever
said than in their evidence. The notion therefore
that Runhare told the court that he heard sounds
of gun shots is not true as it is at variance
with the evidence contained in the record. What
Runhare said he heard are bullet explosions and
not gun shot. The sound of a bullet explosion is
different to the sound of a gunshot, as was well
explained by the Police ballistic expert,
Assistant Inspector Mtizwa.

This distinction is critical because in house as
illustrated by Assistant Inspector Mtizwa, they
recovered about six (6) kg of ammunition that had
exploded. This ammunition had been caused to
explode by the heat from the fire. Assistant
Inspector Mtizwa was quite categoric that their
tests had shown that none of the ammunition had
been fired from a gun but all had exploded
because of the heat. The evidence of Assistant
Inspector Mtizwa is therefore consistence with
that of Mr Runhare. It might be possible
therefore that the explosion of bullets that Mr
Runhare heard was coming from the ammunition
which was in the house and which was exploding
because of the heat or it was caused by the
asbestos sheets which were cracking and exploding
because of the fire. This is the same explanation
given by Samuel Lewis.

The two witnesses were in agreement that they
heard sounds whilst they were still at their
points of guard and at the time they were now
together, to Runhare it sounded like bullets
explosion and to Lewis they were just bursts. The
same witnesses were also in agreement that upon
arriving at the house they observed that asbestos
were cracking and bursting because of the heat.
The two's evidence further agreed that the same
sound they heard at their point of guards is the
same sound that was being produced by the
cracking and exploding asbestos.  They agreed in
their conclusion that the sound they had heard
before whilst at their point of guards and at the
time they were going to the house was in fact the
sound of cracking and exploding asbestos.

In light of the analysis of evidence of the two
witnesses I have made above, the court makes a
finding of fact that the issue of gun shots
sounds being heard by the two witnesses is not
true. This is because the evidence adduced does
not reflect that fact at all.
There is also the evidence of Rosemary Short in
which reference is made to gunshots. It is
important to highlight that when evidence was led
from her by Mr Chimbari from the Attorney
General's office, she never talked about hearing
sounds of gunshots. When questions were later put
to her by the family lawyer Mr Kewada, she again
never mentioned the issue of hearing sounds of
gunshots. I highlight these facts because
Rosemary had a close relationship with the
deceased, the nature of her evidence was so vivid
and detailed   such that she took a long time on
the witness stand. One  would therefore not have
expected her to leave out such a relevant and
important piece of evidence, if at all it existed.

It was only when she was questioned by Tendai
Mundawarara, the deceased's nephew that the issue
of gun shots came into being. And her first
response was that the only time she heard
gunshots was sometime back, in June or July,
prior to his day and she had inquired with the
Police Officers, who told her that it is them who
had fired the gun shots into the air in order to
scare off would be intruders or at times they
would explain that they would be killing snakes.

It was upon a lot of insistence and persistence
by Mr Mundawarara for her to explain what she
heard on the night of 15 August or morning of 16
August, that she told the court that there were
sounds coming from the direction of the house
that were akin to gun fire. She inquired from the
Police Officer, Constable Mark who was present
and he explained that the sound was caused by
exploding asbestos.

Rosemary Short already new what the sound of gun
fire was like because she heard it when Police
fired in the air or when killing snakes prior to
this day. Considering the relationship that she
had with the deceased and the nature of her
involvement in this case, if she had heard the
same sounds, surely this should have been the
first thing she would have told the Police but
she did not. This should have been one of the
first issues she would have told the court,
again, she did not. It needed some persistent
questioning for her to make reference to it.

The court therefore concludes that she acted in
this way because, she was sure that the sound
came from exploding asbestos, as she was told by
Constable Mark. In any case this is the same
exploding sound of asbestos that was referred to
by Runhare and Lewis. No allegation was made
against the Police that they were malicious or
they were telling lies to mislead court. The only
allegations against them was that they were
incompetent. The court therefore find no reason
to doubt Constable Mark when he told Rosemary
that the sound was caused by exploding asbestos,
more so, when it is the same sound that was also
heard by other witnesses.

In this regard it is farfetched to conclude that
Rosemary Short heard sounds of gunshots on the
day in question.

The Fire Brigade investigations and report were
done by Clever Mafoti. When they arrived at the
scene the fire had almost subsided, there were
only some isolated pockets of fire left. They
then, using water which was in the bowser at the
farm,  extinguished the fire. He told the court
that they were no table to establish the cause of
the fire because by the time they arrived most of
the leads had been disturbed and interfered with
by people who had been fighting the fire.

He, however, observed that there might be
possibly two sources of fire (the points where
the fire started) in the bedroom and in the main
He explained that this could have been caused
firstly by arsonist, secondly by a short circuit
within the function of electricity power of
thirdly by the pre-mixture and convergence of
heat and dust in the ceiling which would have
created a ball of fire that is then thrown to the
other end of the house.

Evidence from the Fire Brigade expert was not of
any assistance to the court as they were unable
to establish the cause of fire. What, however,
was noted by the court is that the Fire Brigade
is heavily under-equipped and have no capacity at
all to react to an emergency. They had no
vehicles, the only vehicle they had had leakages
such that if they had put water in its tanks, by
the time they arrived all the water would have
leaked out. It further took them more than thirty
minutes to leave the station after receiving the
report and more than one and half hours to arrive
at the scene. Their attendance at the scene
therefore became merely academic and cosmetic.

A Police Officer from Beatrice called Constable
Garikayi had initially told the court that after
the discovery of the dead body in the passage of
the mini lounge, he noticed that he body was
still burning and a blue flame was coming out.
Asked to explain the cause of this bluish  flame,
Mr Mafoti told the court that, in a fire accident
and if the temperatures reach above 500 degrees
as what happened in this case, what would happen
first is that some fluids from the body will ooze
out, thereafter fat will come out as well. That
will create what is called a triangle of
combustion. This triangle consists of hot air
combustible materials coming from the body and
then heat. A combination of these three items
would then cause a spontaneous ignition of fire
with a blue flame.  This explanation is
consistent with what the Polio Forensic Scientist
Mr Mutandiro told the court which was to the
effect that one time the temperatures in the
house reached 520 degrees celsius.

The witness further explained why people had to
continue pouring buckets of water on the body but
the fire would not be extinguished. He stated
that water boils at 100 degrees celsius and the
temperature in the room was way, above 100
degrees celsius. When water was poured, because
of these very high temperatures, it vapourised,
the hydrogen in the water would then explode and
cause intense burning of flames. There was need
therefore to continuously pour water so as to
reduce the temperature, when this temperature
falls down, the water would become effective and
fire would be extinguished.

Mr. Mafoti is an experienced fire fighter with 27
years experience. He is well learned in this
field with various courses to go along with.
Whilst he was not of much value in telling the
courts how the fire started, his expert knowledge
assisted the court in his explanation of two very
pertinent issues, firstly the bluish flame coming
from the body and secondly as to why a lot of
water was poured on the body but the fire would
not be extinguished.

The Zesa investigations were carried out by its
Customer Service Officer for Beatrice Area called
Douglas Nyakungu. After being told of the fire
accident at the farm, he attended the scene at
around 0730 hours.
In his investigations because of the extensive
damages that had been caused by the heat, he
could not establish whether or not an electrical
fault had caused the fire.

The evidence of Forensic Scientist Mr Mutandiro
dealt with the examinations he made when he
reached the scene. He observed that the house had
been extensively damaged by fire. He observed
that the body was completely burnt beyond
recognition and it was charred as well, with the
feet and the right arm burnt out. He also
observed that the carpet beneath the body was not
burnt and he explained that this indicated that
the body was protecting the carpet from the fire
and also that the body had been on that position
before the fire.

Mr. Mutandiro also collected debris from
identifiable position in the house and pieces of
burnt curtains which he packed and later sent for
forensic examination in South Africa. The places
where he picked the debris are the places he
suspected to have been the seats or sources of
fire (where the first started). The purpose of
sending debris to South Africa was in order to
determine as to what caused the fire.

They placed these exhibits in an exhibit plastic
bag which was then packed in a container and
later transmitted to South Africa.
It is pertinent to note that after examining the
above stated exhibits, Officers from the South
African Police Service, Forensic Science Unit
could not determine the cause of the fire. It was
the evidence of Warrant Officer Jack Maine that
various reasons caused this result. Firstly the
method of packaging of the exhibits used by the
Zimbabwean authorities was wrong and not in
accordance with international standards. The
exhibits were supposed to be packed in an oven
packaging material or metal tin with no rust.

The way the exhibits were packed exposed them to contamination.
Secondly the method of gathering the debris was
also not good enough and was too subjective. Mr.
Mutandiro had picked debris from the area he
assumed were the sources of fire. If he made a
mistake in choosing these areas and left out a
relevant area, again it affected the results.
Warrant Officer Jack Maine told the court that
there are specialised machines or even dogs that
can be used to detect possible sources of fire.
The court no doubt, considers his evidence highly
including the decisions that he made on that day.
But human errors are part of human life and
should never be ruled out.

Mr Mutandiro is a highly qualified Forensic
expert with more than 20 years experience.
Whilst the court has no reason at all to doubt
the decision of Mr Mutandiro on that day, it
would have been more prudent and more perfect to
have sought the South African expertise in
determining the source of fire, so that debris
could have been picked on the basis of the
identification made by such expertise.

The effect of what transpired is that if the fire
started at a place which Mr Mutandiro failed to
detect, then no debris from that place was taken.
Because no debris from that place was taken South
African examination could obviously not determine
what caused the fire. The court appreciates the
economic quagmire that this country has been
exposed to for so many years and this has
resulted in serious lack of resources in the
majority of our public institutions and the

Republic Police has not been spared. That is the
reason why the communication radios of the three
Constables who were guarding the farmhouse were
not working. It is unfortunate and in deed unfair
that the fact that the radio was malfunctioning
was being blamed on the three Officers. That is
also the reason why Beatrice Police had no motor
vehicle at the station and had to borrow a
vehicle from one of the local farmers. This is
again why experts like Mr. Mutandiro did not have
proper packaging material for exhibits and
machines to use in their trade unlike their South
African counterparts.

This in the court's view cannot be blamed on the
individuals like Inspector Dube, the three
Constables who guarded the farmhouse or Director
of Police Forensic Mr. Mutandiro. It is an
institutional challenge that is far much bigger
than what transpired. It is rather worrying that
a fire brigade takes more than thirty minutes to
leave the station in order to go and attend a
fire because they have no machinery, it is
further surprising that the Fire Brigade takes
more than an hour to reach a place that is hardly
sixty kilometres away and it sounds unbelievable
that the same Fire Brigade reaches the farm house
without water because the only road worthy
vehicle they had only carries four hundred litres
of water and its leaking like at sieve to the
extend that by the time they reach the house all
the water would have been lost.

This is the court's view should not be blamed on
people like Mr Mafoti who try to do their best
under very difficult conditions. It simply speaks
volumes of the state in which our institutions
are found in and it's a cry for major and
immediate interventions.
It was further the evidence of Mr Mutandiro that
he observed that the fire was so intense to the
extend that it caused metal bars to bent and
windowpanes to crack and melt. He therefore
concluded that at one time the temperatures
reached 520 degrees Celsius. He described this
fire as complex and one that could not be judged
as ordinary.
By the end of their investigations both the
Zimbabwean and the South African experts failed
to determine the cause of the fire.
This is the same conclusion reached by the
Officer In-charge of the scene and the
Investigation Officer, Chief Superintendent
Makedenge. Chief Superintendent Makedenge is the
one who led the team of investigators. They
interviewed all the witnesses, gathered all the
exhibits and coordinated all the investigations
but at the end he did not get any evidence that
would show that there was foul play in the death
of the now deceased. In fact in his own words he
commented on this aspect as follows at page 557
to 558 of the record: -
"We got no any tangible evidence that indicated
that foul play might be suspected. No one ever
came forward with any information that we were
supposed to investigate as to whether there was
any foul play and what we investigated there
wasn't, there were no indications of foul play.
And with the report that I got from ZESA, the
Fire Brigade, then Forensic Science there were no
indications and the postmortem that was conducted
by Doctor Gabriel Alivero."

Dr Gonzalez is the one who conducted the
postmortem. He is a Cuban national whose English
is not good, hence a Spanish interpreter had to
be hired when he gave evidence.

It was alleged that the doctor is not registered
to practice in Zimbabwe by the Medical and Dental
Council of Zimbabwe, hence he was not qualified
to practice in Zimbabwe, nothing was however
shown to the court to show that the doctor was
not allowed to practice in Zimbabwe.
The court, however, takes judicial notice of the
fact that the Zimbabwean Government entered into
a government to government agreement with the
Cuban government in which Cuba agreed to assist
Zimbabwe by sending Cuban Doctors who would then
work in our hospitals. This was cause by the
shortage of Doctors in

Zimbabwe and is the reason why in most Public
Hospitals in Zimbabwe one would find these Cuban
Doctors working in those hospitals. This is also
the same explanation that was given by Dr
Gonzalez which was to the effect that he did not
have a practicing certificate issued by the
Dental and Health Professional Council but he was
a member of the Cuba Medical Brigade and he was
authorised to work in Zimbabwe through the
Ministry of Health and based on the agreement
between Zimbabwe and Cuba.

These are facts which are notorious, which the
court accepted on the face of it. That obviously
explains why the Police did not hesitate to give
him such an important task of performing the
post-mortem of a person in the stature of the
Retired General Mujuru. This is not surprising if
one considers his qualifications and the fact
that he has 29 years experience as a doctor.

If therefore someone has doubts or is of the
belief that Dr Gonzalez is not authorised to work
in Zimbabwe, the court would obviously require
information much more concrete than mere bald
allegations. It would have been much more
acceptable if those making these allegations
would have produced proof in the form of a letter
from the Ministry of Health and or Health
Professional Council confirming that Dr Gonzalez
was not authorised to work in Zimbabwe. The court
therefore accepted and did not see any reason to
doubt the credentials of Dr Gonzalez, in the same
way it did not have any reason to doubt the
credentials of Dr Fusire who extracted blood from
the deceased's daughter.

Dr Gonzalez came out with the following findings
after carrying out the postmortem:
i)    That death was caused by open fire origin is unknown.
ii)    That there was carbon in the trachea of
the deceased, which is a vital sign of smoke

He further explained in his evidence that the
presence of carbon in the trachea area of the
deceased was indicative of the fact that at one
time the fire had started the deceased was alive
because the deceased could only have inhaled
smoke through breathing.
A lot of questions were put to the Doctor
challenging the manner in which he conducted the
postmortem but he adequately explained his
actions. He agreed that an X-ray is normally
taken at postmortem but he could not do so in
this  case because of the condition of the body,
which was heavily charred. He further agreed that
the body is normally cut open from top to bottom
for purpose of examination

But in this case he could not do so because the
body had been destroyed by the fire, it was
heavily charred with bones breaking.
He also agreed that ordinarily the head is opened
in order to examine the brain but in this case it
was not possible because the skull was heavily
burnt and the brain was damaged by the fire, in
fact there was no more brain to talk about. He
further agreed to the suggestions that the organs
are normally removed one by one for examination,
but explained that this was one way of doing it,
the other acceptable way was to do the
examinations without necessarily removing the
organs. In this case most of the organs, like
kidney, bladder, prostate, spleen, pancreas and
lungs were all absent as they had been burnt out
by the fire. The liver and gall bladder were
present but severely burnt and charred.

It was argued that the Doctor should have
extracted blood from the body for tests but the
Doctor explained that this was not possible
because the body was charred and there was no
longer blood in the body.

Finally the doctor carried out a thorough
examination of the body and concluded that the
body did not have any external or internal
injuries caused by anything else other than the
The family was assisted to put questions to the
Doctor by a pathologist from South Africa called
Doctor Perumel. The court noted that a lot of
criticism was directed at the Doctor in the
manner he carried out the postmortem but the
court does not share this criticism. The
criticism directed at the Doctor is what one
would term as textbook criticism. The family
lawyer was comparing what Doctor Gonzalez did to
what is written in textbooks. But this is not the
situation, which was prevailing on the ground.
One would fail to understand how they expected
Dr Gonzalez to extract blood from a heavily
charred body which did not have blood.  Similarly
it is difficult to comprehend how Dr Gonzalez was
expected to remove organs like lungs, kidneys and
others for examination when these organs were not
there as they had been destroyed by heat or how
they expected the Doctor to cut the head and
examine the brain when the brain had been
destroyed by fire.  Yes that's what the text
books and the so called international standards
required but the situation on the ground was
different, this was a heavily charred body which
had been destroyed by a fire of extra-ordinary

In my analysis of the manner the doctor conducted
the postmortem I am left in no doubt that all
that what he did was the best in the
circumstances.  Even if one is to agree to a
second postmortem as was suggested, I would
wonder what value this would add because there is
no blood to extract, there are no organs to
examine and there is no brain to examine.

No value at all will be derived from that.  That
is the reason I have already concluded that the
criticism levelled at Dr Gonzalez is merely "text
book criticism", as the situation on the ground
required some innovative approach.
In the circumstances, therefore, the court finds
no reason at all to reject Dr Gonzalez's
findings.  From all the evidence that I have
analysed above it is clear that no witness was
able to tell the court as to what caused the fire
and no expert or scientist who carried out tests
and examinations was also able to tell the court
on what caused the fire.  What the court was told
and in-deed what the court agrees with is that
this fire was out of the ordinary in view of how
it started, the way it spread and the heat it
generated.  It was to some extend a strange fire

From the evidence that was adduced no one was
able to tell the court whether or not there was
foul play that caused the death of the Retired
General Mujuru.  The Investigation Officer told
the court that his conclusion was that there was
no foul play.  The Police Forensic Scientist Mr
Mutandiro told the court that he could not tell
whether or not there was foul play. In other
words his investigations failed to reveal
anything.  The forensic scientist from South
Africa Police Service also failed to come out
with anything.

The court has taken note as already alluded to
elsewhere in this document, that there are
various factors that compromised investigations.
Firstly the failure to adequately and properly
cordon the areas of the fire (farm house) made it
impossible for fire experts like Fire Brigade to
properly examine the scene and investigate the
cause of fire.  As a result Fire Brigade were not
able to determine the cause of the fire.
It has further been observed by the court that
the way the forensic scientists in Zimbabwe
gathered and packed the exhibits which were sent
to South Africa was flawed.

Errors could have been made in identifying areas
where the debris were to be taken from the errors
were certainly made in the manner the exhibits
were packaged.  All this could have compromised
and in the end affected the results of the

The question which one would ask is whether it is
necessary to recommend further investigations.
In its view the court does not see the necessity
and no value will be derived from that.  The
scene has already been tempered with and evidence
is contaminated because it now more than six
months after the death of the deceased.

I must further comment that this is a case in
which there was and continues to be a lot of
suspicion over the death of the now deceased.  So
many people and even relatives of the deceased
believe that there is amiss in the death of the
now deceased but from the forty one  witnesses
who testified no one was able to point to the
court as to the basis of such suspicion and what
it is that is amiss.  Even the relatives of the
deceased were given an opportunity in addition to
the family lawyer to question each and every
witness who testified.  This was done in order to
bring out everything which they thought could
have caused the death of the deceased but still
nothing was specifically pointed to the court.

Suspicion was raised on the fact that the
deceased did not have the farm house keys but had
to borrow from the maid, Rosemary Short.  But it
came out clear from Rosemary's evidence that she
gave him one key only to the door which leads to
into the farm house, the rest of the keys he had
and these were recovered in the bedroom by the
Police.  He specifically told Rosemary that he
had left his key in Harare.  With this
explanation from the deceased to Rosemary and the
fact that the rest of the keys were found in the
house, the court would wonder where the
hullabaloo over missing keys was coming.   The
only person who would know why he left the other
key in Harare is the deceased.  Besides that
,however, no one pointed to the court how the
missing key could be linked to the death of the
now deceased or to the cause of the fire.

The motor vehicle keys were missing and up to now
they are yet to be recovered.  The Investigating
Officer confirmed this fact and further explained
that they carried out thorough investigations but
could not find the keys.  This again is a cause
of suspicion but again nothing specific was drawn
to the attention of the court.  The court is not
even able to recommend further investigations in
that regard firstly because the Police have
thoroughly investigated that issue and secondly I
do not see how this will assist in finding out
how the fire started.

In the final analysis the court summarises its
findings as follows: The name of the deceased is
Retired General Solomon Tapfumaneyi Mujuru.  This
fact is clear from the factual evidence presented
before the court and the DNA analysis done in
South Africa.  They all point to the same
direction as regards to the identity of the
deceased.  The court also concludes that the
deceased met his death between the hours of 2020
on the night of 15 August 2011 and 0345 on the
morning of 16 August 2011.  This is because at
around 2020 and 0345 hours that was the time his
body was discovered inside the farmhouse.  It is
in this regard also that the court has concluded
that the deceased met his death in the farmhouse.
This is because that is where his body was

A postmortem was carried out by Dr Gonzalez who
concluded that the cause of the death was
carbonisation due to open fire.  There is no
other evidence before the court to show to the
contrary and the court has no reason at all to
doubt the findings of the doctor.  This is the
basis upon which the court makes a conclusion
that death was caused by carbonisation due to
open fire.

The doctor even went further in his examination
to find out whether there were some other
injuries on the body of the deceased caused by
something else other than those caused by fire
and he did not find any.
The court analysed evidence of all the forty one
witnesses to determine what caused the fire to
start but could not get any answers.
Experts were called to testify from Zesa, Fire
Brigade, police and South African Forensic
experts, all of them for one reason or another
could not furnish the court with an explanation
on how the fire started.  This therefore is the
basis upon which the court concludes that the
cause of fire could not be determined.

Despite the suppositions, speculations,
conjectures and suspicions by various people
including the deceased's relatives, nothing
concrete and no evidence at all was placed before
the court to show that there was foul play in the
death of the deceased.
In addition to that there is evidence from the
doctor that deceased did not suffer any other
injuries besides that caused by fire and there is
also the evidence from the lead, Investigator,
Chief Superintendent Makedenge to the effect that
they carried out exhaustive investigations but
there was nothing to show that there was foul
play leading to the death of the now deceased.

The facts and evidence presented before the
court, therefore, do not show that there was foul
play and consequently the court concludes that
there was no foul play.

W. Chikwanha
14 March 2012

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Hopes fade for missing Victoria Falls tourist

31/03/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

A WEEK-LONG search for a missing tourist has been called off in the Victoria
Falls Rainforest, but police say the investigation will remain live.
Tinashe Chitambo, 25, disappeared on a visit to the falls on March 25. He
was travelling with his sister, Michelle.

The pair took a brief tour of the densely-wooded Rainforest on the banks of
the Zambezi River at 10AM before breaking off for lunch at the Shearwater

The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, which is in charge of the
Rainforest, says Tinashe went back for a solo tour and never re-emerged.

Michelle raised the alarm around 2PM after failing to hear from her brother,
sparking a desperate search which had not yielded anything by Friday.
At the start of the search, one witness had told rangers that he had seen a
man loitering around the falls.

Parks spokeswoman Caroline Washaya-Moyo said Friday that they had scaled
back the search and they now feared for Tinashe’s life.

“A full scale search has been suspended and at this point our rangers and
the police have found no leads to explain Tinashe’s disappearance. It’s been
a desperate search, but with every passing day hopes of finding him alive
fade,” she said.
The missing man’s family insist he was not suicidal.

Victoria Falls police say the investigation will remain open and they will
chase down all leads.

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Zimbabwe MP Wants Diamond Probe After Chiadzwa ‘Hostile’ Reception

30 March 2012

Unsatisfied following their maiden visit to Marange diamond fields this
week, lawmakers from the mines committee call on the anti-corruption
commission to probe goings-on in Chiadzwa

Violet Gonda | Washington

Following their maiden tour of Marange diamond fields this week, some
Zimbabwean lawmakers are calling on the anti-corruption commission to
investigate operations in the controversial area saying they were not
satisfied with responses from some of the mining executives.

The parliamentary mines committee concluded their week-long fact-finding
mission on Friday, but some legislators allege “sinister operations” are
going on there, adding that if Zimbabwe had “a normal government” some of
the mining companies would have been shut down, or prosecuted by now.

Chiredzi West lawmaker Moses Mare of the MDC formation led by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai charged that management at some of the companies, in
particular Mbada Diamonds, deliberately withheld information.

He said managers were hostile, even shutting down their plants and sending
workers away so the lawmakers could not see the production line.

ZANU PF legislator and committee chairman Edward Chindori-Chininga was
quoted in the state-run Herald newspaper as saying there was a protracted
argument with Mbada management, prompting him to tell them the committee was
not on a witch-hunt but was merely performing its oversight role.

“We were surprised by the manner in which they behaved," Mare told VOA’s
Violet Gonda. "Mbada Diamond Mines is not a normal company that is operating
under the supervision of the government. They do things the way they want.

"They switched off their machines and asked their employees to run away. So
we just saw a ghost company. We didn't’t even see a single diamond. They
were really hostile and very stubborn.”

He said public hearings with the affected community, which had been
organized by the MPs also failed to materialize, alleging people were told
not to talk to the parliamentarians.

While it was evident that major production was going on, Mare said, this did
not match with the amount of money being sent to the fiscus from diamond

He added that the Chinese-dominated Anjin Mining Company has seven
processing plants which produce 5 000 carats of diamonds per day translating
into more than a million carats a month, which are not accounted for.

This is a staggering amount considering there are four other mining
companies in Marange, Mare said.

“If this was a normal government the anti-corruption unit was supposed to
descend on Mbada as soon as yesterday."

But Mines Minister Obert Mpofu told VOA's Sandra Nyaira government had
nothing to hide in Marange, arguing that is why lawmakers and other
interested groups were being cleared to tour the mining fields.

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‘Mpofu involved in $2bn scam’

By Everson Mushava, Staff Writer
Saturday, 31 March 2012 13:29

HARARE - Lawyers representing former Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation
(ZMDC) chief executive officer Dominic Mubaiwa in his $2 billion fraud
charge say Mines minister Obert Mpofu personally engaged potential investors
in the Marange diamond fields joint ventures.

Mubaiwa is jointly charged with Core Mining boss Lovemore Kurotwi for
allegedly defrauding the state potential revenue through alleged
misrepresentation of investment information to the Mines ministry.

Kurotwi is alleged to have said Core Mining was a special vehicle for Benn
Steinmeitz Group Resources (BSGR); an international company based in South
Africa that would invest $2 billion dollars in the country.

This led to the signing of a joint venture company called Canadile Mining
between Core Mining and the State’s Marange Resources.

Advocate Lewis Uriri, Mubaiwa’s lawyer when cross examining Godwills
Masimirembwa, the key witness in the matter, said Mpofu was privy to all
what was happening pertaining to joint ventures with ZMDC and even provided
names of other potential investors.

According to Uriri, Mpofu was aware that BSGR was prepared to back Core
Mining upon satisfaction of certain conditions in the Marange project. It
was also clear to the minister that the Marange joint venture agreement
would be concluded between ZMDC and Core Mining since BSGR chose to be
anonymous for political reasons, citing fears of victimisation from the
Western countries.

“On May 15 2009, Mubaiwa wrote a letter to minister Mpofu raising concern
over the use of an anonymous investor saying there could be obvious
difficulties in dealing with a Shelf Company whose principles were not

“Mubaiwa also said there could be a risk of misinterpretation if the
investor chose to be anonymous. From this, it showed that no information was
misrepresented to the minister. The minister was aware of what was really
going on,” Uriri said.

Uriri said Mubaiwa also advised Mpofu of the need for multiple investors in
Marange, to which Mpofu responded by giving him names of other investors, a
move Uriri said clearly explained that Mpofu had established a trend to
become the port of call for all investors.

According to Uriri, Mpofu was in constant contact with the potential
investors and while negotiations where still going on with the ZMDC, the
minister asked to meet BSGR at a “shareholder level” to understand their
“shareholder perspective.” Uriri said the fact that one is negotiating does
not mean they are shareholders.

But Masimirembwa agreed.

“You just want to be naughty, he called the meeting to understand their
perspective as potential investors,” Masimirembwa argued.

According to a letter presented in court by Uriri, Mpofu introduced Mubaiwa
to Gem Diamonds which was associated to new Reclamation Group (Reclam) which
later pulled out in unclear circumstances and Namakwa Diamonds.

Uriri said Masimirembwa chose not to produce some documents as exhibits in
court because they confirmed what Mubaiwa said, which showed that the
minister was directly interacting with the potential investors.

Masimirembwa said investors approached the minister but as procedure
required, were referred to the ZMDC where they would first make formal
expressions of interest  and signing of confidentiality agreements that
would lead to a due diligence exercise on the Marange fields and formal

The case continues on May 8 with Uriri expected to continue with his cross
examination of the state’s star witness, Masimirembwa.

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Zim police steal diamonds from Israeli pilot

March 31, 2012 1:43 pm

HARARE- The Israeli pilot who was allegedly found with US$2 million worth of
diamonds yesterday pleaded not guilty to unlawful possession of the gems and
entry into Zimbabwe by evasion. Shmuel Kainan Klein (58) appeared before a
Harare magistrate and denied being in unlawful possession of diamonds and
contravening Section 12 (1) of the Immigration Act Chapter 4:02, which
criminalises entry by evasion.

After the court session, Klein was re-arrested by immigration officials who
were under the impression that he was in the country illegally. His lawyer
Mr Jonathan Samukange had made an application seeking to bar immigration
officials from arresting his client and interfering with his bail
conditions. The order was granted with the State’s consent by regional
magistrate Mr Clever Tsikwa.

In his defence outline Klein said that he was in lawful possession of the
diamonds and police had stolen some of them. However, an official from the
Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, said the diamonds were from
Marange and conceded that the diamonds were being smuggled out of the
country. Klein denied committing the offence claiming he was an agent for
Masri diamonds.

“He advised them that he would be flying that afternoon to Tel-Aviv, Israel,
where he would be handing the diamonds to the owner. He also said that he
carrying the diamonds on behalf of Masri diamonds and was to hand them to Mr
Nisim Masri. He told them that he was acting as his agent for the purpose of
possessing and carrying the diamonds to Tel-Aviv,” read part of Klein’s
defence outline.

Mr Samukange told the court that some of his client’s diamonds were missing.
“He will state that he has been shown a copy of the affidavit by Mr Clever
Sithole, which shows that the total carats were 8 486.66 and further state
that there is missing about 2 140.34,” submitted Mr Samukange. He further
submitted that police must have stolen them since the diamonds were in their

Mr Samukange also submitted that when the diamond parcel was opened by the
assayer, Klein was not represented. He argued that the valuation of the
diamonds was “extremely exaggerated” valuing them at US$220 000. The first
witness in the case a Civil Aviation Authority security officer, Ms Wendy
Gomo, who was being led by prosecutor Ms Tracy Mundanga, said Klein was
shaky when he presented himself at the passenger screening point prompting
her to request a further search of his luggage.

She said when she discovered the diamonds Klein told her that they were
objects used in a plane. During cross-examination, Ms Gomo said she was not
in a position to comment on the shortfall as she did not conduct a physical
search. Another witness Detective Shamiso Tashu of the Police Border Control
and Minerals Unit said when she counted the stones they totalled 1 446
although she did not know the caratage.

In cross-examination she conceded that some of the evidence was missing. Mr
Sithole of MMCZ said when he was given the diamonds he noticed that they
were Marange diamonds after seeing the texture adding that every diamond has
a trace element. He said the Marange diamonds were brownish. He said the
diamonds in question weighed 1,7kg with a caratage of 8 486 and valued at
US$2 437 708 22.

Mr Samukange doubted his qualifications saying, “the court needs to rely on
a qualified person not someone who has gone for a seven day crash course
programme”. After the hearing, Mr Samukange tried to prevent immigration
officials from arresting his client since the court had made an order
barring them from arresting the Israeli. Mr Samukange pulled his client’s
left hand while an immigration official pulled his right hand.

The parties went to the police post at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts and
three immigration officials finally emerged from the post holding Klein by
his belt before whisking him away in a white Mazda pick-up truck. The Herald

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Zanu PF youth militia attack traditional leader

By Godfrey Mtimba
Saturday, 31 March 2012 13:20

MASVINGO - A 100-year-old traditional leader and his son have lost property
worth thousands of dollars after their huts were set ablaze by Zanu PF youth
militia accusing them of receiving maize seed from the MDC.

Village head Muranganwa whose real name is Zimunya Muonde from Mutikizizi in
Bikita, and his son had their huts reduced to ashes by Zanu PF supporters
who accused them of being traitors.

Their crime was to accept maize seed from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s

The village head, who could hardly speak because of advanced age, said he
feared for his life after the incident as the arsonists could hit back.

His wife, aged 88, said the family was served with an anonymous letter
warning of impending danger for receiving maize seed from “sell-outs”.

She said a hut used to keep farming equipment was destroyed by the arsonists
on Wednesday night.

“We were asleep and awakened by the barking of dogs. When I went out to see
what was happening I was shocked to see the hut we keep our farming
equipment in flames and there were some people running away.

“This was hardly a day after receiving the warning letter,” said Mrs

It was worse for her daughter-in-law, Jane Muonde, who was sleeping with her
toddler son.

Muonde said she woke up to see flames engulfing the hut and managed to
escape with her son.

“I could have perished in the house with my two children after they set my
house on fire while we were asleep. I was awakened by my small baby who was
crying and that is when I saw that the roof was on fire and about to
collapse. I quickly took the children out but all the property my husband
bought in South Africa where he has worked was gone,” said Muonde.

She added that they were paying for accepting maize seed from MDC but denied
being political activists.

The family reported the matter at Ngorima police base where officers told
them they would investigate the case.

Although police in Masvingo declined to comment referring the press to
Harare, the family fears that the arsonists could get away with it.

MDC in Masvingo condemned the attacks.

“We condemn such cowardice and barbaric acts by Zanu PF on innocent
villagers. To us this shows that Zanu PF people are not repentant and are
not ready for elections. We, however, urge the police to apprehend the
perpetrators and if they do not do their job and Zanu PF fails to reign in
its supporters then the people of Zimbabwe will be left with no option than
to defend themselves,” said MDC Masvingo spokesperson Harrison Mudzuri.

Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF provincial chairman, Lovemore Matuke,
were fruitless as he was not reachable.

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Gukurahundi Playwright Arrested in Lupane

Bulawayo March 31, 2012–Police in Lupane in Matabeleland North province on
Friday defied a High Court order and arrested National Youth Development
Trust (NYDT) senior programmes’ officer Bhekimusa Moyo.

Moyo, who is also the author of Gukurahundi theatre play ‘1983 The Years
before and After’ was arrested at Lupane Business Centre while conducting a
skills training workshop, despite a High Court order that gave a green light
to the meeting.

Lupane police had initially banned NYDT workshop last week but the youth
organisation through Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) this week
secured a High Court order to proceed with the meeting on Friday.

However armed police officers stormed the NYDT training workshop being
attended by over 30 youths at Lupane Business Centre before arresting Moyo.

“Police in Lupane have arrested the NYDT Senior Programs officer, Bhekimusa
Moyo for conducting a life skills training workshop in the area.

“The police disrupted the workshop that was attended by 30 young people
drawn from different wards in Lupane, saying they do not recognise the High
Court clearance. The law enforcement agents also stated that the NYDT did
not follow the correct procedures for acquiring clearance for such
 meetings,” said NYDT information department said in statement Friday night.

NYDT information department added that Lupane police also barred Moyo’s
lawyer Lison Ncube of ZLHR from seeing his client before dragging him out of
the police station and locking all the gates.

“Police officers have locked the gate to the station denying entry to anyone
visiting the Moyo. Despite managing to gain entry to the station through
tactful means, the lawyer was dragged out of the station and warned not to
visit the station in connection with NYDT cases by the Officer in charge,
before being locked outside,” NYDT information department said.

Matabeleland north province is now regarded as the most hostile province for
human rights organisations and opposition political parties as police there
have arrested their members and blocked several meetings in recent months.

According ZLHR police in Matabeleland North have so far arrested or harassed
more than 40 politicians and human rights activists since January 2011.

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Ministers looting

By Wonai Masvingise, Staff Writer
Saturday, 31 March 2012 13:11

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has accused top government
officials of sabotaging the economy by looting the country’s parastatals.

Calling them “economic saboteurs”, Tsvangirai, who was addressing the Harare
Metropolitan Water Summit yesterday, said people in high offices assisting
in the collapse of parastatals by engaging in rampant looting and failing to
pay their bills were bringing down the country’s economy.

President Robert Mugabe and several Government ministers were recently
exposed by the Daily News for owing the country’s sole electricity supplier
Zesa astronomical bills.

The premier said top officials had institutionalised looting and were
refusing to pay for water and electricity at their farms and houses.

“I am appalled by those in high offices’ penchant for free goods despite
their opulence voluntarily displayed in a poor country such as ours,” said

Recently, Vice President Joice Mujuru was reported as confirming that
government ministers were looting farming inputs at the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB). She said she had reported the matter to Mugabe.

Mujuru is also alleged to have said Zanu PF members were being seriously
divided by these free agricultural inputs meant for the poor.

At the water summit, Tsvangirai called on the top officials who were
recently named and shamed by the Daily News to pay their outstanding
electricity bills.

“We must pay our bills. Refusal to pay for services provided is not
different from economic sabotage. Zimbabwe’s power sector has been seriously
compromised by the big chefs’ failure and outright refusal to pay their
electricity bills.

“This cancer has however, spread to almost all sectors of the economy. I am
aware of the huge water bills run by ministers and senior government

“The worrying trend is that most of those who are refusing to honour
electricity bills also owe several thousands to Zinwa (Zimbabwe National
Water Authority) and local councils. The hullabaloo about bills having been
released to the public and questions of client confidentiality is much ado
about nothing.
“It is hiding behind the finger. Pay your bills and you will save the

“The sad thing is where an old widow, who is looking after several orphans
has her electricity and water disconnected for arrears of just as little as
$30, the big chefs enjoy these services all the time but still refuse to pay

The Premier added that the country could not continue with a situation where
the poor subsidised the rich by bearing the brunt of load-shedding and water

“Local authorities and parastatals are in need of funds to recapitalise and
improve service delivery but cannot succeed when we have some in high
offices refusing to pay for services rendered,” he said.

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New Twist in Industrial Rescue Package Angers Zimbabwe Company Executives

30 March 2012

The executives, mostly from Bulawayo where over 80 firms collapsed between
2009 and 2010 leaving 20,000 workers jobless, said it is unthinkable that
the government is failing to pay $20 million as promised while Old Mutual
Insurance (Pvt) Ltd has already met its financial obligation

Gibbs Dube | Washington

Some Zimbabwean company executives have reacted angrily to revelations that
the long-awaited $40 million Distressed and Marginalized Areas Fund launched
last October is non-existent as government has failed to provide part of the
money to bail out companies.

The executives, mostly from the second city of Bulawayo, where over 80 firms
collapsed between 2009 and 2010 leaving 20,000 workers jobless, said it was
unthinkable that government is failing to pay out $20 million as promised
while Old Mutual Insurance (Pvt) Ltd has already met its financial

They said failure by government to act was an indication it lacked
commitment to rescue collapsing industries in the region, neglected over the
years by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF government.

Kevin Terry, Central African Building Society managing director, told
Parliament this week that the fund is not only for Bulawayo companies but
meant to benefit distressed firms countrywide.

Terry said from the $20 million deposited into CABS by Old Mutual, $43,96
million has so far been disbursed to six companies and “we have additional
applications for $17,9 million from 31 institutions”. Seven applications
have so far been rejected.

Bulisani Ncube, Bulawayo manager of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce said company executives are concerned by lack of government
commitment in rejuvenating industries in the city.

“Despite these drawbacks we hope state bureaucracy will not force treasury
to take another six months to release the funds to CABS,” said Ncube.

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Chitungwiza looting continues

By Staff Reporter 30/03/2012 13:01:00

The Chitungwiza resuscitation team has been castigated for employing
delaying tactics in a bid to prolong its tenure at the satellite town so
that they can continue lining their pockets.

The term of office for the Chitungwiza resuscitation team is expected to
expire on the 27th of April.

However, there are allegations that the team is delaying the completion of
the set terms of reference in a bid to prolong its stay whilst at the same
time looting council resources.

Chitungwiza mayor, Alderman Philemon Chipiyo, who could not hide his
disappointment in the team set up to resuscitate the town, described the
state of affairs in the town as institutionalised looting.

“I am not happy with the state of affairs, I have been in the local
government sector for many years and what is happening here is deplorable.
Initially, the team was good but now it is delaying the whole process so
that it stays longer and loot,” said Alderman Chipiyo.

Alderman Chipiyo said after raising eyebrows at the way the team is running
council, he has since been barred from using his office at the Chitungwiza
Municipality head office, alleging that they do not want him to scrutinise
their operations as he is bound to expose them.

“They do not want me here at the offices. They say I should only come by
invitation. That is not right, government knows we have offices here and
this should be respected. They know that if I am stationed here, I will be
able to scrutinise their deals,” he added.

The team which was appointed by government to revive Chitungwiza
Municipality is alleged to be costing council thousands of dollars in
salaries and allowances and has not made any significant progress in
reviving service delivery which had collapsed in the satellite town.

The team, led by Manicaland provincial administrator, Mr Fungai Mbetsa was
appointed by Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister,
Ignatius Chombo in January this year to take over from the Godfrey
Tanyanyiwa leadership which is being accused of corruption and

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Mums and Dads, Gogos and Sekurus

March 31, 2012, 10:28 am

Dear Family and Friends,

The first whisps of winter are beginning to drift over our horizon. The days
are getting shorter and the sunsets more copper. Early these mornings the
mist lies thick in the dips and valleys, often not burning away until eight
or nine o’clock. Visiting a friend when the dew was still thick on the grass
one morning this week, there was neither electricity nor water and the chat
soon turned to how unpredictable everything in the country still is.

It’s hard to believe that just three years ago the new MDC Finance Minister
announced that we had become a multi- currency economy  and we began using
US dollars and South African Rands.  It’s like a bad nightmare remembering
that in January 2009 we were buying one single US dollar for five hundred
billion Zimbabwe dollars. The scrapping of the Zim dollar and introduction
of the US dollar caused a national sigh of relief.  In a single move one man
put a stop to the horrific mismanagement which had caused a decade of
financial insanity and economic collapse. Almost overnight super-hyper
inflation crashed from multiple billions of percentage points to zero. Vast
supermarkets and wholesalers whose shelves had been completely empty were
suddenly full of food – all imported of course. The  black market  which had
controlled the country and all of our daily needs from bank notes to food,
fuel, equipment and medicine, disappeared within weeks.  Within a few months
the world, and many of our new leaders, stopped following the huge daily
struggle of ordinary people, we were back on track they said. On the surface
of things Zimbabwe is getting back to normal, but not for everyone.

A largely unnoticed horror continues to unravel for pensioners in Zimbabwe
this April 2012. Three years ago, in April 2009, it cost a family member
living in the diaspora less than US $100 dollars  a month to support their
parents or grandparents who were over 65. These were parents and
grandparents who had lost everything to hyper inflation. They had lost their
life savings when 25 zeroes were removed from the currency and turned
upright citizens into destitute paupers. Desperate pensioners first  sold
their assets, jewellery, treasures and family heirlooms in order to buy food
and medicines, then they sold their cars. When that money had been gobbled
up by hyper inflation,  they sold their houses in order to stay alive. With
no government support, no subsidies in recognition of their age and no way
of replacing their lost assets, pensions or life savings, and when they had
nothing left to sell, Mums and Dads, Gogos and Sekurus  had no option but to
hold out their hands and say: please help.

The 100 US dollars that supported a pensioner three years ago was enough to
pay their rent, water and electricity in a one bedroomed cottage for a month
and leave  30 or 40  dollars  for food. Three years later, despite the
government’s stated inflation rate of less than 5%,  the rent, water and
electricity for the same pensioner in the same cottage now costs 450 US
dollars a month and that’s before they’ve had anything to eat or gone to the

“The prices are never going to go down are they,” my friend asked as we had
tea while the mist lifted and melted under the morning sun.  We both knew
the answer and that the prices will continue to go up but we said nothing.
What can you say to someone who worked all their life, planned and saved so
carefully for their retirement and then had it all stolen in front of their
eyes by their very own government. Until next time, thanks for reading, love

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March 31, 2012, 1:51 am

It’s nothing new, dishonesty and petty corruption, but like a rash it
definitely seems to be spreading. True, good news hardly makes for riveting
reading and that may be the explanation for the current crop of bad news
stories but the impression gained from a look at the daily Zim Situation
reports is that honesty and straight dealing are on the decline in Zimbabwe.
And that applies from the very top right down to the man in the street.

Last Saturday there was a report that VIPs were receiving agricultural
inputs, seed and fertiliser, intended for ‘new’ farmers. Individuals who
could well afford to buy their own inputs, such as the Commissioner of
Police, the Mashonaland West Governor, the Minister of Agriculture and the
Vice President, they were all named.

The revelation of the names of top people who had not paid their Zesa bills
provoked an outpouring of anger from the debtors over who had leaked the
details to the press; not shame over unpaid bills, just anger at who had
leaked the story! Then came the news that top Zesa executives had paid
themselves huge pay rises but slashed the allowances paid to non-managerial
staff. Just as shocking was the news that Robert Mugabe himself and his
other Zanu PF cronies are majority share-holders in Zesa. While all this is
going on, the ordinary citizen is subjected to massive power cuts lasting
for days; the water supply is no better and Harare City Council announces it
needs $100 million to fix the city’s water problems. The news of the
expansion of Hwange and Kariba power plants later this year will be precious
little comfort to those affected by power cuts now. It’s rather like
promising ‘Jam tomorrow but never jam today’!

On the streets of Harare this week, school text books donated to the country
by UNICEF were openly on sale. The Ministry of Education promises to probe
the scandal but one wonders how these donated books got out on the streets
in the first place? For parents, desperate to provide their kids with the
right school equipment, the temptation to purchase these books is very
understandable, even though parents must know that UNICEF books are donated
and thus not intended for sale. Set that story against the revelation by the
Minister of Education himself that pupils in Mat North are sitting 20 to a
desk because there are too few desks and you see how innocent children are
the unintended victims of this petty corruption and dishonesty.

While the whole country is suffering from hunger in varying degrees, the
food crisis in prisons is much worse. When the Red Cross offered to help
feed prisoners, the government in its arrogance told the Red Cross their
help was not needed. They could feed their own prisoners, thank you very
much! One meal a day of sadza and beans was the government’s answer –
occasionally sadza with boiled cabbage we are told. There was a time when
going to prison at least meant you got three square meals a day! What is it
they say about the way a country treats its children and prisoners?

Petty corruption and dishonesty make day-to-day living hard  but it is the
unchecked activities of criminal gangs like chipangano that rots the body
politic from the inside. This gang of young thugs has reportedly taken over
council properties in Harare and is said to be collecting huge sums of money
on properties and whatever else they have taken over. The police do nothing
to stop this illegal activity because the gang is known to be pro-Zanu PF,
perhaps even run by a Zanu PF biwig. There is worrying evidence that
chipangano’s activities are spreading to other towns, such as Karoyi and
Chinoyi. And if that isn’t worrying enough, the MDC reports that Zanu PF is
reviving the Top Six terror gangs that wreaked such havoc in Chinoyi back in
2008. Residents of the town report that they have seen gang members around
the town again

There may be a new coalition government in Zimbabwe but very little has
changed. Politicians and lawmakers continue silent as petty corruption and
dishonesty spreads across the country.

Yours in the (continuing) struggle, PH.

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