News24

Army chief death - no electrical problem

2012-01-26 22:37

Harare - An official from Zimbabwe's national power company told a court inquest on Thursday that no electrical fault was found in its investigation into a fire that killed former army chief Solomon Mujuru.

"According to our observation, nothing from Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority caused the fire," company official Douglas Nyakungu told the court.

"Even from the appliances or items in the house, nothing could have caused the fire."

A police report presented in court at the beginning of the inquest said the fire was not caused either by inflammable substances or explosives. The fire department has not ruled out arson.

Police investigator Chrispen Makedenge also told the court that 15 guns, including two pistols and one AK-47 assault rifle, were recovered from Mujuru's farmhouse.

"Two guns were in the bedroom wardrobe, of which one was an AK-47. The other 13 firearms were in the gun cabinet. We also recovered seven gun magazines and ammunition," he said.

Makedenge said that Mujuru's body was found lying face down on the lounge floor, and so badly burned that he had to take blood samples to confirm his identity.

Mujuru, also known by his war name Rex Nhongo, led Zimbabwe's liberation forces during the 1970s bush war against the whites-only Rhodesian government.

After independence in 1980, he became the army chief. Until his death at age 62, he remained an influential member of the ruling Zanu-PF, in a context of rivalries and tensions after the violent and inconclusive presidential elections in 2008.

He had interests in farming and diamond mining, but was also respected as one of the few people able to speak frankly to President Robert Mugabe about ending political violence against his opponents.