By Mary Taruvinga
THE widow of slain Central Intelligence Organisation top operative, Peter Munetsi, who died under military detention during the November 2017 coup that toppled President Robert Mugabe, has approached the High Court seeking to compel police to immediately release her husband’s postmortem results.
Munetsi’s wife, Rossie is demanding the release in order to start processing her husband’s estate with plans also to sue those she considers 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 postmortem, Dr Tsungai Victor Jabangwe.
It has been reported before that Munetsi’s death was being investigated but Rossie said police have not been forthcoming with the postmortem results, forcing the family to approach the courts.
“I require the postmortem 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.
Rossie said her husband’s employers made it clear that they will only act upon receipt of his postmortem report and that the matter was “sensitive.”
The widow argued government was lying.
“On October 31 the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights wrote another letter to the third respondent (Parirenyatwa Hospital) advising them of our intention to meet the officer in charge of the hospital’s police post in relation to the post-mortem report. The meeting took place as scheduled and my legal practitioners managed to go through the post-mortem report.
“The post-mortem report revealed that my husband’s death was caused by intra muscular bleeding and blunt force trauma as a result of the assault. Regrettably, the IO (investigating officer) was not able to attend the meeting and hence the report was not actually collected from the police post,” she said.
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.
“Further, without the postmortem report, I cannot redeem my husband’s insurance policy, death on duty benefit and pension. I am stuck. The postmortem is crucial in my endeavors.
“I need closure as well. The longer this drags on, the more I continue to relive and be haunted by my husband’s wrongful death. The economic downturn is eating into the value of whatever amount I am entitled to. I’m suffering irreparable prejudice.”
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.
Rossie is being represented by Denford Halimani of Wintertons Legal Practitioners.
Previously, the lawyer wrote to the police officer in charge of the CID’s Law and Order section at Harare Central Police Station.
This was after the state-run Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, which conducted the post-mortem, referred the family to the CID Homicide department for the results. The lawyer insists that they know the post-mortem report is available.
Munetsi was appointed to a special contract with the Counter Intelligence Branch.
The army operation left a trail of destruction at properties owned by government officials perceived to be loyal to Mugabe.
The walls and doors were riddled with bullet holes and bullet casings and fragments were also found scattered around the properties, including at the home of former Local Government Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere.