THE fire that gutted the Golden Peacock Hotel in Harare came just a week after an attempted break-in at the Chinese guesthouse, insiders have revealed.
The hotel, located along Kingsmead Road in Harare’s upmarket Borrowdale suburb, caught fire last week, resulting in a large section of the kitchen being reduced to ashes.
Although details of the incident are still sketchy, a source at the hotel told The NewsHawks that a group of unidentified men travelling in a red Toyota Wish had attempted to break into some private rooms at the hotel.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the men gained entry through the back of the hotel and attempted to open doors to the administration rooms before they were thwarted by an alert guard.
“The men tried to force open several doors, but failed. They only fled the scene after they were disturbed by an alert guard and sped off in a red Wish vehicle,” said the source.
The source said following the incident, which lasted less than 10 minutes, six hotel workers who had sneaked out of the premises to visit their families were taken in for questioning by operatives from the Criminal Investigations Department in Marlborough.
“The six were questioned for about four to five hours before they were released after they were suspected of having a hand in the attempted break-in,” said the source.
He said although the workers were released without charge, they were immediately sent on leave, pending internal investigations into the matter.
“All six were asked to go on leave until the 6th of April to allow for internal investigations into the matter,” he said.
He said in an apparent move to ensure the security of the vice-president and other guests, the workers at the hotel were not allowed to leave the premises and did not have time to visit their families, something he said had created tension between them and the employer.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi expressed ignorance on the matter.
“I am not aware of such a case,” he said.
Authorities at the hotel were not immediately available as calls to their landlines were not going through.
Vice-President Chiwenga has been staying at the hotel since his return from home from China in November 2019 where he had spent almost a month receiving medical treatment.