HARARE – As emotions continue to boil over the disputed circumstances surrounding the death of liberation struggle icon General Solomon Mujuru, whose charred remains were found after a suspicious fire in 2011, his elder brother Joel says he has often contemplated suicide because of the “painful” desecration of Rex’s name by leaders of the post-congress Zanu PF, including President Robert Mugabe.\r\n\r\nBY FUNGI KWARAMBA
\r\nSpeaking in an exclusive interview with the Daily News this week at his modest Goromonzi plot, the emotional Joel — who also says the Mujuru family is determined to find and nail his brother’s killers after hiring 12 private investigators to look into the matter — said he was struggling to cope with the vicious and relentless attacks on Rex and his beleaguered widow, former Vice President Joice Mujuru.\r\n\r\nAlthough a State inquest ruled out foul play regarding the late Gen Mujuru’s death, there is widespread suspicion that this was a “professionals hit” by his political foes who were apparently piqued by his influence and kingmaker’s role in Zanu PF, having played a leading role in elevating Mugabe to the leadership of the party in the mid 1970s.\r\n\r\n“It is very painful for me that a defenceless man (Rex) is now being subjected to endless attacks, even from the highest office in the land. It is really painful that my brother is demonised every time, regardless of the work he did for this country. Kuzvisungirira kuri nani (it is better for me to commit suicide) as I am the only one left,” he said.\r\n\r\n“I’ve been thinking of killing myself because I am in terrible pain. I am not saying the president should stop talking, but I am just asking whether there are no other means to solve whatever problem is there than to attack him daily?\r\n\r\n“Kana vachigona kuuraya vanhu vekwaMujuru vese ngavauraye or I will lead the way and kill myself (if they can, they may as well finish off all the Mujurus, otherwise I will make their life easy and take my own life),” he added, choking with emotion.\r\n\r\nAt the first hearing of Mujuru’s inquest in August 2012, the coroner controversially refused to allow the family’s preferred pathologist, Dr Reggie Perumel of South Africa, to examine the remains of the fallen hero.\r\n\r\nThe Mujuru family wanted Rex’s body to be exhumed and re-examined, arguing that the State pathologist Gonzales Alvero had done a shoddy job and skipped key processes of the inquest — amid a widespread feeling that the coroner had acted unlawfully and that there had been “behind-the-scenes political interference” in the inquiry.\r\n\r\nAll this has led the family to make public demands for a second inquest, to examine, among other issues, the exact circumstances that caused the fire that killed the late revered army commander, and whether he was still alive when the fire started.\r\n\r\n“If a second inquest is to be ordered, it must be held by a different coroner. The findings of the second inquest will then replace those delivered from the first,” a source close to the Mujuru family told the Daily News yesterday.\r\n\r\nThe coroner advised the family at the time of the inquest that an exhumation of Gen Mujuru’s body could only be okayed by the minister of Home Affairs — authority that has not been granted to date.\r\n\r\nJoel has also revealed that the Mujuru family has hired 12 private investigators who are apparently “closing in on the killers” after preliminary investigations suggested that the decorated late freedom fighter may have been murdered.\r\n\r\nGen Mujuru’s charred remains were found after a mysterious fire at his Beatrice farm — just outside Harare — four years ago.\r\n\r\nStung by the worsening desecration of his name by Mugabe, his controversial wife Grace and many other Zanu PF bigwigs — his family says it is now even more determined to hunt down his killers.\r\n\r\nJust last week, Mugabe accused the deceased former army commander, on whose bidding the nonagenarian became the leader of Zanu in the mid 1970s, of having plotted to remove him from power using the likes of MKD leader Simba Makoni and veteran academic Ibbo Mandaza before he died.\r\n\r\nBut a highly-charged Joel, who stammers like his late young brother, and often dropped tears during the Daily News’ interview with him, said it was “very painful that a defenceless man (Rex) is now being subjected to endless attacks even from the highest office in the land”.\r\n\r\n“Why keep on talking about Solomon, why? Solomon akafa (Solomon is dead) and that should have been the end of the story.\r\n\r\n“Asi haatadze kuuya kuzobvunza munhu akamuuraya (He will not fail to confront his killers). Manyangarara arikuitika mavhirovhiro ekuti zvichabuda pachena chete (All the nonsense that is taking place in Zimbabwe shows that some people are being haunted by his death and the truth will come out).\r\n\r\n“This issue will not end until we get to the bottom of it. Why talk about Solomon today? Solomon will confront his killers one day even before the second coming of Jesus Christ. He will ask them, ‘why did you kill me?’ There are 12 people leading the investigations and even if I die today they will carry on. We are going to find who killed Solomon,” Joel said.\r\n\r\nHe said he was heartened by the fact that “even the opposition is also questioning the circumstances surrounding Solomon’s death”, which was making him “even more motivated to get to the bottom of the death”.\r\n\r\nHe charged that the inquest into the death of his young brother had not “solved the puzzle surrounding his (Solomon’s) death” and had left the family “with more questions than answers”.\r\n\r\n“There are a lot of things that should be done during an inquest that were not done with Solomon. Solomon was fast-tracked to the Heroes’ Acre even when his relatives didn’t know what had happened, why?\r\n\r\n“And people say we should not ask questions or seek answers. Who told them to remove his charred remains? Anga ari ani kuna Solomon (on whose authority did those people who removed his remains do so?). Yet I am the only one left with the children, besides my sister.\r\n\r\n“When we went to the farm (where Solomon died), we saw his corpse being carried away. Who told them to take the body? Ndiani akati chitunha ichi ndiSolomon (who had identified the charred remains then?). How did they know that when they had said Solomon was burnt beyond recognition. Actually, how did Solomon die?” Joel fumed.\r\n\r\n“Even if the whole Mujuru family is wiped out, the truth will come out. Zimbabwe haina mwana akachemwa kunge Solomon (No hero has been mourned in Zimbabwe like Solomon was). Munhu akauraya Solomon zvichabuda zvese (Solomon’s killer will be exposed). Four of our investigators are confident that they will get to the bottom of the matter,” he added.\r\n\r\nJoel said the Mujuru family was angry and “in a state of confusion” as to what Zanu PF was seeking to achieve through its continued vilification of their departed son.\r\n\r\nJoel’s pronouncements come at a time that emotions are boiling over again within Zanu PF regarding the circumstances surrounding Gen Mujuru’s death, as well as the post-congress Zanu PF’s continued desecration of his name.\r\n\r\nIt has not helped matters that Solomon Mujuru’s name — whose liberation struggle nom de guerre was Rex Nhongo — has almost become a four-letter word within the post-congress Zanu PF, with a recent report that was prepared by the party’s disciplinary committee claiming that he had been plotting with his wife, former Vice President Joice Mujuru, to oust Mugabe from power.\r\n\r\nThe divisive report has widened fissures within the warring ruling party which has since split into two distinct and bitterly-opposed formations, with many of the former liberation movement’s struggle stalwarts now identifying themselves with the “original” Zanu PF that uses the slogan People First.\r\n\r\n“From as far back as the 5th National People’s Congress (which was held in December 2009), the party and government was aware that Joice Mujuru was either leading or complicit in a plot to oust the president.\r\n\r\n“She, then with the help of her late husband had plotted to thwart the president’s nomination at the 5th National People’s Congress, mainly through the agency of her cabal’s handpicked or imposed provincial chairmen.\r\n\r\n“Even though she (Joice) says she should not be held accountable for the actions of her late husband, her actions after his death in 2011 show that she was much in the plot and continued with the scheme of the husband,” the report says.