The Zimbabwean High Court is said to have ordered an inquest into the death of retired General Solomon Mujuru, a powerful figure in President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party ostensibly killed in an August fire, potentially leading to the exhumation of his remains.
Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri told the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation this week that police investigations of the August 16 fire at Mujuru's farm outside Harare were completed, but the official findings were referred to the courts which have ordered an inquest to establish the true cause of his death.
VOA was unable to reach Chihuri to confirm the report.
The courts can call for an exhumation if found necessary to determine the cause of death, sources said. The former defense forces commander’s widow, Vice President Joice Mujuru, has declared that she believes there was foul play involved in his death.
Experts have said it is unlikely any investigation could uncover the true cause of Mujuru’s death, noting that the fire-ravaged house and grounds were not immediately secured by the police, potentially destroying or contaminating critical evidence.
But South African forensic scientist Chris Kotze told VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo that in view of the circumstances, an exhumation could reveal the real cause of Mujuru’s death.
Kotze said forensic scientists can test the remains for traces of poison, to determine to determine whether death resulted from some trauma, or whether Mujuru in fact died in a fire. He said that as Mujuru was buried in August, evidence may still be obtained.