Family Of Man (35) "Murdered By State House Guards" Demand Answers1 year ago
The family of a Harare man who died last week under unclear circumstances accuses State security agents of murdering him at or near State House in Harare.
The State House, which is the President’s official residence, is mostly guarded by members of the military’s Presidential Guard unit, Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
Levy Musendo (35), of Mufakose in Harare, a “mentally-challenged person but stable and on medication” allegedly left the family’s home on 19 August 2022 to carry out some errands but did not return home.
The Musendo family says since their son’s murder last week, they have been moved from one office to another as no one wants to take responsibility.
On 20 August, Levy’s father, Job Musendo, received a phone call from an unidentified police officer at Harare Central Police Station, that his son had been arrested and detained.
He was advised to bring fresh clothing and food for his son. He also took with him his son’s medical records that showed he was a mental patient.
According to a letter of complaint by the family’s lawyers Kadzere, Hungwe and Mandevere Legal Practitioners dated 24 August, Job arrived at Harare Central Police Station at 9 AM and sought to see his son.
At first, he was told he could not see his son “as the police holding cells wherein he was allegedly held were off bounds.”
The letter is addressed to Officer Commanding Harare Central District, Chief Superintendent Moyo, Officer Commanding Harare Metropolitan Province, Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri. Reads the letter:
Mr Job Musendo and his wife were subsequently shuffled from pillar to post, from one office to the other for the greater part of the day and were eventually advised that their child had been taken to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals for medical attention as he had some severe injuries and was bleeding profusely from the nose and mouth.
The officers later told the family that Levy had been injured while “attempting to break into the Zimbabwe State House at No 1 Chancellor Avenue”.
Around 4 PM, they were led into the office of Chief Superintendent Moyo, who broke the news of their son’s death.
Job and his wife were again barred from viewing Levy’s body and were instead, told that “the body was in the custody of the State” and eventually left without seeing it.
On Sunday, they went back to Harare Central, but the law enforcement agents were still evasive.
It is alleged that nurses at Parireranyatwa Hospital who spoke on condition of anonymity said the body had been brought to the morgue by uniformed military personnel.
The soldiers allegedly sternly warned anyone against disclosing the fact that the deceased was already dead at the time he was taken to Parirenyatwa.
According to the lawyers, it was only on Monday that Job was allowed to view the body “under police escort”. They wrote:
On viewing the remains, he was only shown the face which presented with a deep cut around the mouth area and on request to see the rest of the body, he was denied this opportunity and advised that the mortuary attendant had strict instructions to only allow him to see the face for purposes of identification.
Job was then told that a post-mortem would be done the next day, 23 August.
The Musendos were advised of their son’s death on August 20, 2022, at around 4 PM.
However, according to the lawyers, the application for a post-mortem examination showed that he had died on August 20, 2022, at 9.40 PM. Said the lawyers:
How could the time of death be coming after the announcement of the death? What should come first, the death or the announcement?
The application for post-mortem examination also states that the now-deceased died at the Parirenyatwa casualty department but the hospital database showed that Levy had not been booked at the hospital that day or the previous one.
The lawyers pointed out that entries made by a pathologist showed that the time of death “had been altered from 1442 hours to 2142 hours using a blank ink pen.
Mortuary order No 225/22 signed by the pathologist on duty stated that Levy’s death “was not due to natural causes”.
According to the lawyers, the pathologist outlined Levy’s death as “severe epigastric trauma”, which is a “haemorrhage to internal stomach organs.”
The family now wants access to a full and detailed post-mortem report and to view his whole body. Wrote the lawyers:
State House security is a high-security area with closed-circuit televisions all around.
We cannot phantom that such an event as an alleged break into State House would miss the lens of the multitude of cameras dotted around State House.
In that vein, we request that our client be allowed supervised access to the relevant video footage that shows the now-deceased allegedly trying to break into State House as outlined in the documents attached hereto.
More: The Standard