Families of some of the victims of the army’s fatal shootings on the streets of Harare last week claim authorities at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals tried to falsify post-mortem results to reflect that they died of stab wounds.
By Everson Mushava
According to the police, six people died when soldiers opened fire after a protest over delays by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release the July 30 presidential election results turned violent.
One of the victims, Sylvia Matambo Maphosa (52), was shot in the back as she fled to safety. She was buried in Harare yesterday.
Family sources said there was a showdown between Maphosa’s relatives and a doctor at Parirenyatwa Hospital on Thursday.
They claimed the doctor had falsely indicated that she died of stab wounds.
“We went there, and we received a preliminary report that claimed that Sylvia died from stabbing,” the family member said.
The report was given on Thursday evening, but the family refused to sign or collect the body, demanding a proper autopsy report that showed the correct cause of her death.
Attempts to verify the claims by the family were unsuccessful up to the time of going to print last night.
Another family representative, who preferred to remain unnamed out of fear, claimed that several families of the victims of the shooting were also given autopsy reports making similar stab wound claims as the cause of death.
The representative said all the families had later shared the information and agreed to refuse to take the reports or to collect the bodies of their deceased relatives.
A Maphosa family member said they only got the correct autopsy report after they engaged a prominent lawyer (name supplied) on Friday.
“The doctor who did the autopsy then yielded to pressure and asked to consult his superiors before coming out with autopsies that stated gunshot wounds as the cause of the death,” the relative said.
“We eventually accepted the papers and went on to collect the deceased’s body for burial today (yesterday).”
Attempts to get a comment on the claims from the lawyer were all in vain, as their mobile phone was switched off.
Chamisa on Friday told journalists that he had been briefed about the alleged plot to cover up the shootings and to lie that the deaths had been caused by knife stabbings.
Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa said last night that it was unlikely that a postmorterm could be falsified in such a manner and promised to get more details from the concerned hospital.
Meanwhile, Maphosa’s brother, Joshua Matambo, said his sister’s death was a severe blow to the family.
“I am pained. She was not a politician, but she was shot. It is painful,” he said.
“We have had no word from government, no word from the MDC Alliance, yet my sister is gone.
“I don’t have a word for both (president Emmerson) Mnangagwa and (MDC Alliance leader Nelson) Chamisa. They are useless. Their squabbles are not helping us and, look, we have lost lives. I am pained.”
Maphosa’s husband, Robert, told a Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter in an article published online that his family had lost a breadwinner.
“She used to play a vital role to each and every one. I am not praising her because she is my wife, she was just a nice person,” he said. “If you ask everyone, they will tell you that she didn’t deserve to die in that manner.”
He said his wife was a religious person who minded her own business all the time.