THE fire that razed a farmhouse at Plot 8, Eastclare Farm, owned by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s son, Emmerson (Jr), could have been caused by a faulty geyser breaker, according to preliminary investigations by the Kwekwe Fire department.
Sources in the department told our sister paper NewsDay that Emmerson (Jr) had recently commissioned a new geyser at the farmhouse about 20km outside Kwekwe along the Mvuma Road and a loose connection could have caused the fire.
“From the information that we gathered, the fire was a result of a faulty breaker which might have developed a loose connection and triggered the inferno,” the source said.
Attempts to get official comment were fruitless as Kwekwe mayor Matenda Madzoke said he could not get the details in the wake of a media gag imposed on top council officials.
Madzoke said top management at the city’s fire department were all attending a training seminar in Bulawayo and their juniors could not speak to him.
“The office is manned by juniors who are failing to give me information at the moment since all top management is in Bulawayo, so I cannot give you the details,” Madzoke said.
Council recently imposed a media gag on all its managers saying the only official spokespersons at council were town clerk Emanuel Musara and Madzoke. Musara does not speak to the press.
Kwekwe City Council dispatched a fire tender which had no water and was bailed out by Zimbabwe Alloy Smelting Company fire tenders to put out the fire.
“The small fire tender which we use is only for attending accidents and it carries no water. We use it to rescue people who will have been trapped in road accidents and nothing else,” the source said.
The Midlands provincial police spokesperson Inspector Joel Goko requested time to get information from his Kwekwe counterparts.
Police sources told our sister paper NewsDay that the fire damage was estimated at $100 000, mainly being the farmhouse itself as there was not much property in it.
“Only two carpets and a stove are the things listed to have been destroyed in the inferno and nobody was injured,” a police source said.
Attempts to get a comment from the previous farm owners, the Fritz family, to get the value of the farmhouse were unsuccessful.
The Fritz family was hounded out of its farm and is now reportedly destitute and is currently staying in the open at the council-owned Caravan Park after their home of more than 40 years was grabbed by Emmerson (Jr).
The Mnangagwa family referred all questions to Gokwe-Kana MP Owen Ncube, who is a close confidant and loyalist of the Justice minister.
Ncube’s mobile phone rang unanswered and he did not respond to text messages either.