THE holder of the envisaged government Coroner should be appointed by the President and must be a renowned medical practitioner, Coroner’s Office Technical Committee Representative, Runyararo Gurira has said.
BY SHARON SIBINDI
Gurira told stakeholders during public consultations in Bulawayo on the Bill that it is expected that the appointee should have practised for at least seven years.
“The officer of the Coroner appointed by the President should be a practitioner for seven years, for a five-year-term, which should be renewable once. The officer should retire at 65 and should have independence,” she said.
Gurira said other stakeholders during the consultation have shown little confidence in the inquest system used by Zimbabwe at the moment.
“Some stakeholders said everything is on paper and if that file goes missing, it would be difficult to trace. There are a number of reports where medical reports go missing and there is no system which identifies the owner or author of the document,” she said.
Stakeholders also called for amendments to the proposed Bill including removal of whole sections.
Gurira said there were also recommendations that allocations to investigations need to prioritise senior officials, given junior officers might have little knowledge of the person they would be investigating.
“It is important that senior officers should do the investigations as they have more background with what they are dealing with, you find a junior officer investigating doctors who have more than 20 years of practice,” she said.
“Other recommendations include the protection of witnesses when they are to testify as they are scared to testify at the court.”
There were also recommendations relating to handling of dockets and files by the police with stakeholders demanding better workmanship from the law enforcement agents given reports of disappearance of files.
The inquest system used in Zimbabwe has over the years produced inconclusive results especially in the aftermath of the death of revered liberation war commander, Solomon Mujuru, former war veterans leader, Cain Nkala and the inquest into the stampede during a Walter Magaya-led PHD church service in Kwekwe.