The ongoing inquest into the death of a former Zimbabwean army chief last year in a house fire revealed curious details on Thursday with an official from the national power company ruling out possibility that an electrical fault could have started the blaze that burned the military man to ashes.
A detective who investigated the tragedy added to the intrigue with claims some firearms were found near the body of retired Army General Solomon Mujuru, whose death has raised more questions that answers even as the inquest continues.
Douglas Chiradza Nyakungu, Customer Service Officer for the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority in Beatrice, location of Mujuru's farmhouse, told the court there was no way the fire could have been caused by an electrical fault.
Nyakudza's testimony was in direct response to an earlier submission by a Harare Fire Brigade officer that generally there are three major causes of fire outbreaks; electrical faults, arson attacks and the ignition of dust and oxygen that he described as a “triangular combustion”.
He said his inspection of the Mujuru residence revealed that iron electric pipes fitted in the house were burnt from the outside, arguing if the fire had resulted from electrical failure, the cables should have been burnt in their inner parts.
Nyakungu told the inquest there were no faults that he discovered from the main transformer and the distribution box which dispenses power in the 14-room farmhouse.
He said there were two circuit breakers that had tripped off. Nyakungu added there were no high-voltage appliances in the residence that could have caused an electric circuit overload resulting in the tripping off of the circuit breakers.
Another witness Crispen Makedenge, a police officer attached to the the Law and Order division testified that some burnt firearms and several rounds of ammunition, which he produced in court, were found in the house.
Makedenge said 17 firearms, among them AK47 rifles and pistols were discovered in Mujuru’s house when the police responded.
He testified that two firearms were found on the floor near the deceased’s fitted wardrobe in his main bedroom while other two guns, one of them an AK-47, were lying beside the remains of the deceased.
The officer added that other firearms were found stored in the house's gun cabinet.
Makedenge said following the tragedy, the charred military man's remains were examined by a pathologist who then ordered that they be taken to Harare for further examinations.
During the family’s question time, the deceased’s elder brother Joel, said up to now, he did not believe those remains were of his young brother.
The inquest continues Friday.