SLAIN central intelligence operative Peter Munetsi was not on medication as claimed by the government, but was beaten to death by his captors during the November 2017 military coup that toppled president Robert Mugabe, a post-mortem report reveals.
According to details of Munetsi’s post-mortem, the senior spy’s body had “multiple blunt force injuries” which caused him to bleed internally to death on November 16 2017.
The post-mortem, conducted by senior pathologist Tsungai Javangwe at the request of Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Parirenyatwa Hospital station, established that: “Cause of death after gross autopsy and histology:
1a. Severe anaemia post-extensive subcutaneous and intramuscular haemorrhage.
1b. Blunt force injuries. The stomach contains 20-30ml of greenish brown gastric chime. No tablets, no usual odours or materials are seen. There is no evidence of gastric ulceration.”
The government, through Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba, among other officials, have claimed the coup was bloodless.
The officials blamed Munetsi’s death on a chronic illness which they said he had been taking medication for.
The post-mortem report was released to a lawyer representing Munetsi’s widow, Denford Halimani of Wintertons Legal Practitioners, after she had approached the High Court to compel the authorities to release the document.
Government, the police and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals had refused to release the post-mortem report, which reveals how the former intelligence officer died.
While the examination lasted from 1:45pm to 5pm on November 21, 2017, toxicology results were still pending.
Munetsi, who was 55, died at One Commando Barracks after being captured by soldiers at the height of the military coup that toppled Mugabe after 37 years in power.
His wife Rossie made an initial demand of US$610 000 from the Ministry of Defence, arguing that army personnel detained and killed her husband.
She also wanted the post-mortem report to get her husband’s insurance, pension as well as other benefits.
“According to the Form 231/police verbal reports, the deceased was initially reported as having taken ill and died suddenly. Later report suggests he may have been a victim of assault. He was certified dead on the 16th of November 2017 by Dr SA Chinengono at Commando Hospital,” the post-mortem reads.
“NB: Full circumstances are still under investigation; the above statement may be subject to corrections and or additions. Photographs and video evidence were taken during the course of the autopsy by CID homicide studios. X-rays were taken by Parirenyatwa Hospital radiology department.
“The body is that of an adult African male, of height approximately 175cm and weight 100kgs . . . He is showing conjunctival haemorrhage (bleeding in the eye, which can be caused by trauma). His conjunctiva (the mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye and lines the inside of the eyeball) and sclera (the white outer layer of the eyeball), as well as oral mucosa show severe pallor (pale). His tongue also appears pale. There is no evidence of jaundice (yellow tint to the skin or eyes caused by an excess of bilirubin, a substance created when red blood cells break down), clubbing (deformity of the finger), pedal oedema (accumulation of fluid in the feet and lower legs).”
The report adds: “His body shows multiple purple black contusion and linear abrasion all over his body. His distal forearms appear swollen with generalised purple black contusion. The graze abrasions have a vital reaction. All injuries appear to have occurred within the same time frame; all appear to be relatively recent injuries.”
There was exposure of the innermost layer of skin and extensive and deep haemorrhage on his back and limbs that formed collections, according to the report.
Injuries were noted on 24 points, namely right knee area, right thigh anterior aspect, left knee area, right inner forearm, right mid biceps, left upper chest left biceps, left forearm extensor aspect, left hand dorsum, left leg, right lower chest, left elbow , right elbow, right upper back left forehead left ear pinna, left eye and left lower lip.
The internal examination shows organs of a healthy male.
The x-rays showed fracture or dislocation of the little finger.
“At autopsy he shows mucosal pallor and multiple purple black contusions as well as graze abrasions on the back, upper and lower limbs. Mucosal pallor is often found in individuals who are anaemic of which bleeding, is amongst the one of the causes. Reflection of skin shows extensive haemorrhage into muscle and subcutaneous tissue (innermost layer of skin) with blood collections seen in areas of the back, upper and lower limbs. His kidneys show pallor as well as multiple petechial (brown-purple spots due to bleeding under the skin),” the post-mortem reads.
“Skin/subcutaneous tissue and muscle; sections show skin biopsied up to level of subcutaneous tissue. Also seen is muscle tissue. There is mild to moderate interstitial haemorrhage in the lower reticular dermis. Subcutaneous adipose tissue shows severe interstitial haemorrhage. In and around bundles of muscle fibres also seen is mild to severe interstitial haemorrhage.”
— Zimbabwe Independent