The leader of President Robert Mugabe’s military forces in Zimbabwe’s independence war, Solomon Mujuru, has died in his burning home. He died in the early hours of Tuesday in a fire at a farm in Beatrice.
Solomon Mujuru, aged 62, was a Zimbabwean military officer and politician who led Robert Mugabe’s guerrilla forces during the Rhodesian Bush War. He was generally regarded as one of the most feared men in Zimbabwe. His wife, Joyce Mujuru, became Vice-President of Zimbabwe in 2004.
Police said the cause of the blaze is unknown. He was burnt beyond recognition at his farm about 50 kilometres south-west of Harare, police said.
Mr Mugabe said, “This horrific tragedy, the full details of which are still coming, has robbed the nation of a veteran commander of our war of liberation.”
His wife and other rivals are competing for position as 87-year-old Mr Mugabe’s heir.
Due to the country’s history of politically suspicious deaths, there was speculation over the cause of the fire at the 1400-hectare farm, seized from a white farmer in 2001.
“The suspicion of a power play is everywhere. If that was involved, it’s a huge event and could spark violence between factions of Zanu-PF,” said Eddie Cross, policy coordinator of the Movement for Democratic Change, which is in an uneasy power-sharing agreement with Zanu-PF.