No traces of explosives found at scene of Solomon Mujuru’s death

Mr Mujuru’s death intensified infighting in the party of President Robert
Mugabe, where the general was a powerful figure who used his military,
political and business connections to promote his wife’s battle for

Mr Chimbari said the state power utility will testify that an electrical fault
did not cause the fire.

First reports said a candle may have tilted over accidentally during a power
outage, a common event in Zimbabwe. But the intensity of the blaze that
virtually cremated the general’s body led to accusations that gasoline,
chemicals or explosive devices may have been used.

Joice Mujuru attended the opening of the inquest dressed in black. She has
hired private attorneys to question witnesses called by the state and to
examine forensic reports.

Soon after Mr Mujuru’s death at age 62, she told mourners she could not
understand why the former army commander and veteran guerrilla leader did
not escape from the fire which left parts of the house and some furniture

The farmhouse of brick and stone has a fire-resistant roof and large windows
and exit doors.

A security guard at the property, Clement Runhare, said Monday he heard what
sounded like gunfire two hours before he was alerted that a fire had broken
out. He said he thought poachers nearby were responsible.

He said the general drove through the entrance gate to the farm with a
passenger in his car who he could not identify. No other human remains were
found after farm workers and neighbors converged on the house to try and put
out the flames.

He said a police protection detail did not have mobile phones to call the fire
department and their police radio was broken.

On his way home to the farm on August 15, Mr Mujuru stopped at a local hotel
bar and drank at least two double whiskies, hotel patron Tongai Chimuka
said. Widely known as a heavy drinker, the general was “in a jovial mood and
was not drunk,” Chimuka said.

More than 40 witnesses have been summoned to testify at the hearing, which is
expected to last at least a week.

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