By Phillimon Mhlanga and Freedom Mashava
Embattled Zimbabwe Republic Police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri’s Harare mansion in Greystone Park yesterday caught fire after a police officer randomly opened fire at the premises.
The top cop is, however, believed to have long stopped living in the house, having relocated to a newly constructed palatial house in the Chishawasha area on the outskirts of the capital.
The Financial Gazette crew arrived at number 47 Binton Road in Greystone Park, Chihuri’s residence, around 1500 hours and witnessed two fire brigade vehicles and an army truck moving out of the premises.
There were also several top police officers inspecting the damage.
The Financial Gazette successfully gained entry into the premises but was asked by a police officer not to proceed to mansion which sits on a vast estate.
Among the top police officers who had come to assess the damage were deputy commissioners general, Innocent Matibiri and Godwin Matanga.
A neighbour who visited Chihuri’s mansion told The Financial Gazette:
“An armed police officer who guards the police commissioner general tried to set the house on fire by opening fire randomly. Luckily there was no one nearby, otherwise lives could have been lost. We really don’t know what the motive was. Fire started in a few rooms, destroying property but luckily the fire brigade and the army responded quickly.”
Another neighbour said: “There was a mystery shooting by one police officer manning the commissioner general’s house and that caused the fire which destroyed some rooms. As you can see the fire brigade and the army responded quickly.”
The army, which forced former President Robert Mugabe to resign after a row over dismissal of then vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, are currently involved in police activities.
Mnangagwa replaced Mugabe as president on November 24, capping a month of unprecedented political upheaval in the country. Police spokesperson Charity Charamba could not be reached for comment. Her phone continuously went unanswered. Financial Gazette