Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Zimbabwe Vice-President Mujuru Calls for Thorough Probe of Fire That Resulted in Her Husband's Death

Mujuru calls for thorough probe

Wednesday, 24 August 2011 02:00

Vice President Joice Mujuru spoke to the Mighty Warriors when they visited her Chisipite home yesterday to convey their condolences following the death of her husband General Solomon Mujuru

Grace Chingoma Sports Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

VICE President Joice Mujuru says she will only be consoled if ongoing investigations into her husband General Solomon Mujuru's death give a satisfactory answer on how he died.

Gen Mujuru died in an inferno at his Alamein Farm in Beatrice last Tuesday before his burial at the National Heroes Acre on Saturday.

The Vice President was speaking at her Chisipite home yesterday when the Zimbabwe senior women's soccer team, the Mighty Warriors, led by Women's Football chairperson, Mavis Gumbo, went to pay their condolences.

She said the farmhouse's bedroom windows were so low that even her grandchildren would jump in and out with ease, making it hard for her to understand why her husband could not escape. " . . . for a military man . . . that's why we are saying we don't have to be judging or making conclusions and so on. Why don't we give our experts a chance to do their investigations and make us understand exactly what happened because I suppose if they are to give us something that is satisfying, it will maybe make my heart rest."

Police are investigating the case and were still compiling reports and are yet to announce findings on the cause of the fire.

About 23 people, including those at places where Gen Mujuru passed through on his way to his farm before the tragedy, have been questioned.

Also interviewed were three cops who were guarding Gen Mujuru's farm on the fateful night.

"Tamirira kuti tinzwe vari kuita mainvestigations avo. They have invited all the expertise that they could round up to investigate what could have happened. " . . . because the problem is we just hear it's fire. But what happened from 8:30pm to when the fire was seen? Ipapa ndopane story apa.

"Because I was called kuma almost 2:13 in the morning that the house is on fire and that the roof had collapsed. Then you say it can't just start and collapse. It means it had started that time when . . . it's that time when he got home that should be the time when people should start.

"You know whatever they want to look at because we can't just start when the roof has collapsed or something because when I got there kuma 3, just after 3, the fire was still on.

"You know the farm workers were still trying to put out the fire. The Fire Brigade had been called when I got there. They had said they called the fire brigade an hour plus and they hadn't been at the farm.

"The farm workers did a wonderful job and used tanks and buckets. Even when I got there, the fire was still raging on. They said he didn't make it, he is there. It was not easy. It was Sekuru alone in the house that's why we are saying we have to wait for experts," she said.

The Vice President said everything in the bedroom was burnt and went on to describe many exit points that were in the bedroom that Gen Mujuru could have used.

"The set up that we had is that the western part of the bedroom there are two large windows from my side and from his side, but if you want to go out for an emergency, you don't have to jump out but you just lift your leg and you are out there.

"And our little grandchildren, we used to joke with them. Instead of coming through the normal door, they would jump into our bedroom using those windows and we used to laugh about it," she said.

Cde Mujuru said she received and was continuing to receive support from the nation.

"To tell you the truth I have no words to tell you how I was supported by the nation, especially the First Lady, the President, Mai Muchena, ministers, members of the Politburo and everyone not only from Zanu PF.

"I was overwhelmed by the colours that came to mourn my husband. When I switched on my phone, I had 129 missed calls. I have not expected it, especially those that came to pay their last respects at Stodart Hall and the night he came to lie here people came from Matabeleland North and South and Binga and were singing outside.

"I think I was living with a man I didn't know. To me he was a husband but his death showed me he was a man of the people and was admired by everyone," she said.

Cde Mujuru has been supporting the Mighty Warriors and headed the fundraising team, which raised US$120 000 that was given to the team by President Mugabe last month after the Mighty Warriors lifted the Cosafa Championships in July.

VP Mujuru has also been attending their matches and was the guest of honour when they won 1-0 in the final match against South Africa to lift their first Cosafa title on home soil on July 9.

She came to the stadium with her late husband, a sport enthusiast, and their grandchildren.

"I was shocked that he came with us. Wakati musatombondisiya. Thank you girls. Tinotenda you are making us proud. And you know your father came with me to Rufaro. Mujuru was a father of girls. He loves his girl (children) even if they were not his. But he was a father. Even to me as a wife sometimes he played his fatherly role. But it is okay," she said.
Cde Mujuru was presented with an album of her pictures and her late husband as they cheered the team to victory.

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