Elita Chikwati Harare Bureau—
VICE President Joice Mujuru’s homestead at Tarisa Farm in Ruwa was yesterday gutted by fire. The fire — reportedly started by a relative who wanted to kill a snake — destroyed a nine-roomed thatched house, a thatched round hut and a fowl run. No-one was injured in the blaze and the Mujuru family moved quickly to allay fears the fire may have been started deliberately — coming just over two years after the Vice President’s husband, Rtd General Solomon Mujuru, died in an unexplained house fire at their farm in Beatrice.
Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, the national police spokesperson, said one of VP Mujuru’s relatives saw a snake close to the main house at around 10.30AM a nd lit a fire in an attempt to kill it, but the fire “got out of control and spread to the kitchen.”
She added: “The fire subsequently spread to the main house which has nine rooms. Workers at the farm managed to remove property from the house but could not extinguish the raging fire that destroyed the main house.”
Police said fire fighters arrived at the scene when the roof had been completely razed down.
“The value of property destroyed has not been ascertained. No foul play is suspected,” she said.
Tendayi, son to the Mujurus, said the fire was an accident.
“You will be notified of the details in due course. The fire was an accident,” he said.
When our Harare Bureau arrived at the scene, fire fighters were still battling to put out the fire. Three fire tenders were at the scene.
VP Mujuru’s neighbour, Emilia Kanda, said she rushed to assist in removing property from the burning houses.
“The fire started from the top so even though we had a hosepipe, we could not put it out. It was not easy to reach the top,” she said.
Another neighbour, Judith Mavula, said the fire spread so fast that there was nothing they could have done to stop it.
Reward Masiiwa who assisted in removing property from the house, said people acted swiftly and managed to save the bulk of the property in the houses.