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Two assault rifles found on floor in General Solomon Mujuru's bedroom on day he died

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Two assault rifles were found on the floor in General Solomon Mujuru's bedroom on the day he died in an inferno while 15 other guns were in a gun cabinet close to the bedroom.

The investigating officer, Chief Superintendent Crispen Makedenge yesterday said they recovered 17 firearms and ammunition in the house.

He was testifying in the inquest into Gen Mujuru's death at the Harare Magistrates' Courts.

Chief Supt Makedenge, who is the Deputy Officer Commanding Law and Order, was the 28th witness.

While being led by Mr Clemence Chimbare of the Attorney-General's Office, he said one of the recovered guns was an AK47 rifle.

Asked where exactly they recovered the weapons, Chief Supt Makedenge said they were on the floor.

He said investigations showed that the weapons were in Gen Mujuru's fitted wardrobe which was destroyed by fire.

"In total, there were 17 guns," he said.

"Except for those found on the floor, the others were in a gun cabinet which was in a room next to the main bedroom.

"The gun cabinet was badly burnt and partially open. It might have been caused to open by the heat."

Chief Supt Makedenge said the firearms, magazines and ammunition were taken to experts.

Commenting on the state of Gen Mujuru's body, Chief Supt Makedenge said it was badly burnt and the stomach was ripped open.

He said a pathologist examined the body which was later taken to One Commando Barracks where some tissue matched his daughter Kumbirai's.

Chief Supt Makedenge said he travelled to South Africa with forensic experts where tests were done by South African Police.

Earlier, the Mujuru family lawyer Mr Tekhor Kewada asked Harare Fire Brigade station officer Mr Clever Mafoti what usually happens when a fire breaks out in a house.

Mr Mafoti said if a fire breaks out when one is awake, a person would try to escape.

"If that person is awake, they will try to save themselves, however, much of the consequences would depend on the contents of the room," he said.
"If there were, for example, a form rubber, it would produce toxic gas.''

Mr Mafoti said experience showed that one would fall down at the point which they would think to be the exit.

He said the fire at the farmhouse showed that considerable time elapsed without the inferno being noticed.

Asked if it was normal for a body to produce a blue flame while burning, Mr Mafoti said: "I did not see the blue flame and the intensity. If it is general blue, what usually happens is that if the

temperatures are 500 Degrees Celsius, some fluids ooze out of the body, thereafter fat would come out that would create a triangle of combustion which consist of air, combustible materials and the heat.

"A combination of the three items causes an ignition of fire with a blue flame."

Mr Mafoti said if water is poured on a body which has temperatures above 500 Degrees Celsius, it will boil at 100 degrees and a component of hydrogen in the water which is explosive may cause the fire to intensify.

Asked by Gen Mujuru's nephew Mr Mudiwa Mundawarara the substances which are not extinguished by water, he said they were petroleum products, fats and metals.
Mr Mafoti said the state of preparedness of the Fire Brigade during the time in question was not ideal.

He was responding to a question from presiding magistrate Mr Walter Chikwanha.

"For example, we would go to Borrowdale with 400 litres of water, but we would reach the place with 100 litres because the truck (fire tender) was not in good condition and it leaked," he said.

Mr Mafoti said the Fire Brigade was not well equipped.

The 27th witness, Mr Douglas Chiradza Nyakungu, a customer service officer with Zesa said he drank with Gen Mujuru at Beatrice Motel on the eve of his death.

He said the General wanted him to fix a transformer which drew water from Mupfure River which had been vandalised.

He said the transformer was 9km away from the farm.

Mr Nyakungu said Gen Mujuru went home early after telling him that he was supposed to leave his farm at 2am for Beitbridge where he had a scheduled meeting.


"He intended to proceed to Polokwane (South Africa) for another meeting and I asked why he did not use air transport but he said his vehicle was in good condition,'' he said.

Mr Nyakungu said Gen Mujuru left for his farm after taking two tots of whiskey.


The following morning, he said he received a phone call from Gen Mujuru's neighbour Mr Grant Nakhozwe who told him that Gen Mujuru's house was on fire.

He said when he reached the house, he checked on the transformer and realised that someone had switched it off before getting into the house with Chief Supt Makedenge to check on the electricity equipment.

Mr Nyakungu said he did not know the cause of the fire, but said it was not caused by an electrical fault.

"Wiring was in steel pipes," he said.

"If there was a fault in the pipes, one would find a hole in the pipe. We saw that all the pipes had not suffered such damage and the electrical set-up in the house had been destroyed by the fire."

Mr Nyakungu said Zesa's responsibility stretched up to the customer's meter box.

But he said he did not see anything suggesting that appliances could have caused the fire, adding that if there was an electrical fault, electricity would have switched off at the source.

He said there were no gadgets which required heavy current that could have caused the fire.

 
 
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