23 May 2019

Zimbabwe: High Court Orders Release of Slain CIO Operative's Post-Mortem Report

POLICE have been ordered to immediately release the post-mortem report of a slain Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative who was allegedly killed by State agents during the 2017 coup that toppled former President Robert Mugabe.

This was after the late Peter Munetsi's widow had approached the High Court seeking to compel police to immediately release her husband's post-mortem results.

A High Court Judge on Wednesday granted the application in favour of Munetsi's widow, Rossie before he ordered respondents to pay costs.

Rossie had demanded the release in order to start processing her husband's estate with plans also to sue those she considered responsible for the latter's death.

Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga was cited as the first respondent in the application.

Other respondents include the Ministry of Home Affairs, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and the pathologist who conducted the post-mortem, Dr Tsungai Victor Jabangwe.

The widow approached the upper court because the police have not been forthcoming with the results.

"I require the post-mortem results to ascertain the official cause of my husband's death and to forward the report to insurers who require it as a precondition to redeem my late husband's Ecosure funeral insurance policy. I also require it as evidence in the civil claim that I intend to institute against wrong doers.

"A notice of intention to sue was sent to the Ministry of Defence on April 23, 2018 and a response was received on May 8, 2018 in which the Ministry denied liability and attributed my husband's death to a chronic illness," she wrote in her application.

The widow argued government was lying because the post-mortem report the police and hospital were holding on to revealed that her husband's death was caused by intra muscular bleeding and blunt force trauma as a result of the assault.

Rossie wrote that several efforts to get the report without involving the courts have not been successful.

"I have exhausted all reasonable non-litigious avenues to obtain the post-mortem report without resorting to this honourable court.

"However, time is running out for me. I could lose the right to sue if three years pass by without taking any legal action," said the widow.

She also said she needed closure adding that if the matter continued pending, it reminded her of the heart-rending encounter of her husband's death.

The matter could open a can of worms by providing fresh insight into the circumstances leading to a number of suspected deaths during the shock coup, which the government claims was "bloodless".

Munetsi died on November 15, 2017 at the age of 55 and a memorial was held for him in Harare on January 27, 2018.

Munetsi was appointed to a special contract with the Counter Intelligence Branch.

Rossie is being represented by Denford Halimani of Wintertons Legal Practitioners.

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