A FARMHOUSE owned by Vice-President Joice Mujuru was burnt down in a freak accident in Harare on Thursday.
The vice president's husband, General Solomon Mujuru, was killed three years ago when a still unexplained fire, gutted the house in which he was sleeping at a different farm three years ago.
Initial reports said the nine-bedroom thatched house caught fire after Mujuru’s son, Tendai, tried to "burn a snake".
Tendai told journalists that he had tried to kill the snake using a fire in the early hours of the morning but the fire quickly engulfed the house.
"I saw a snake and I wanted to kill it with fire. The fire, then spread to a chicken run before the main house was completely engulfed and burnt down," Tendai said.
The Harare Fire Brigade is said to have arrived at the house too late to save the property.
In a statement, police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said no foul play was suspected.
She explained that a relative of the vice president saw a snake close to the main house and lit a fire in an attempt to kill it.
"In a bid to kill the snake, he lit a fire which then got out of control and spread to the kitchen. The fire subsequently spread to the main house which has nine rooms," said Charamba.
"Workers at the farm managed to remove property from the house but could not extinguish the raging fire that destroyed the main house."
Firefighters arrived at the scene when the roof had been completely razed down.
"The value of property destroyed has not been ascertained. No foul play is suspected," Charamba added.
Vice-President Mujuru declined to speak to reporters when she visited the farm.
This is the second deadly fire incident associated with the Mujurus after the vice-president’s husband, Solomon, died in a freak fire accident at his Alemein Farm in August 2011.
There was widespread speculation that Mujuru, a former army commander and veteran of the liberation war, had been liquidated by his enemies within his Zanu PF party.
However, a government coroner who headed the inquest into the death concluded that there was no foul play.
Mujuru is said to be heading a faction within Zanu PF that is locked in a fierce fight with another faction headed by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The factions are battling to position themselves to succeed 90-year-old President Robert Mugabe if and when he steps down.