August 16, 2011 by staff
Solomon Mujuru, The former military general Solomon Mujuru, one of the main corridors of Zimbabwe, political power and the husband of the vice president, has died in a fire in one of their homes in the nation, said on Tuesday the army commander. Mujuru was 62.
His death is likely to intensify the agitation in the party of President Robert Mugabe on the issue of who will succeed the president of 87 years of age.
Mujuru’s wife, Joice Mujuru, leads a powerful faction in the party of Mugabe, and had the support of her husband, who still commanded the loyalty in the army after leading for more than a decade after independence in 1980.
The retired general to take up business empire and acquired a farm, property, mining and other interests that made him one of the richest and most influential political figures in the highest levels of Mugabe’s party and its policies of the Politburo.
Vice President and her followers in the party are the main rivals of defense minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa and his supporters, who have been competing for supremacy in the party that the ailing president dies or retires.
General Constantine Chiwenga, current military chief, told state radio he visited a farm about 35 miles (55 kilometers) southwest of Harare, where Mujuru died during the night when the house caught fire.
Friends and family said before a power failure could have lit the fire.
“The way it happened is hard to understand. He was a fighter well,” said the former guerrilla leader Chiwenga that helped sweep Mugabe in power since independence in 1980.
State radio said Mujuru’s wife, also visited the farm on its reporter saw the building razed to the ground and police said the body Mujuru was “unrecognizable.”
Police said a worker at the house told them Mujuru went to bed and woke the neighbors after the fire spread through the house, state radio reported. The police told state radio that Mujuru had tried to escape, but was evidently overwhelmed by the flames and smoke.
There was no immediate response available to the Mugabe party or office.
Mugabe has acknowledged the deep divisions in his party and has said he cannot leave the office until they are resolved and unified the party before the elections. He wants a vote to end an uneasy coalition with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, his rival for a long time.
Regional leaders negotiated the coalition after the disputed elections and violence in 2008.
Mugabe plans to attend a summit of presidents of the region this week in Angola, where the political crisis in Zimbabwe is high on the agenda. Regional leaders have recently taken a stronger stand against violence and other obstacles to democratic reforms blamed Mugabe and his party leaders.
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