Zimbabwe’s state media says two air force jets sideswiped each other during a state funeral flyover, dropping some metal wreckage but landing safely.

Three Chinese-built K8 jets flew in formation over the funeral of retired Gen. Solomon Mujuru on Saturday. Broken metal pieces from the two colliding jets fell near a sports stadium across the highway a few hundred meters (yards) from the cemetery where Zimbabwe’s political leaders and more than 40,000 mourners were gathered, military spokesman Col. Overson Mugwisi told the state Sunday Mail newspaper. There were no reported injuries.

Witnesses told the newspaper that one of the jets rolled over in the air twice before the pilot regained control and veered off toward the nearby Harare air force base.


While police continued their forensic investigations yesterday into the death of General Solomon Mujuru, his widow, Acting President Joice Mujuru, implored people to stop making wild statements on the cause of death.

Police were tight-lipped yesterday over what they have found so far, and while revealing there had been a post-mortem, declined to give the results until they knew more.

Gen Mujuru (66) died when his farmhouse in Beatrice burned down on Monday night.

Since then, there has been speculation over the cause of the fire, but yesterday Acting President Mujuru made it clear that both she and everyone else should wait until investigations were complete.

She said people should not be preoccupied with the discussion surrounding the circumstances surrounding the death “because God is the only one who has an answer”.

“Ndirikukumbira hama neshamwari kuteerera kuite kushoma, nokuti zvinoitika kuti munhu acommente zvaasingagoni kuti azomira achipupura mangwana.

“Mwari watiri kunamata achatipa mhinduro.

“We don’t have to solicit for an extra mile, sometimes unozotsvaga nezvisipo. Kwatiri Solomon atova mudzimu wekwa Mwendamberi,” she said.

She was backed by the ZANU PF Politburo which resolved that no party member could speak to the media over the death of Gen Mujuru except party spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo.

The resolution came after some party members were quoted in the private media making unsubstantiated allegations surrounding the death of Gen Mujuru.

ZANU PF secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa made the announcement yesterday at the Mujuru residence.

“Tabvumirana kuti tinozvinzwa tichiteerera asi tosiira kunaVaGumbo vachipindura pavanokwanisa. Isu vamwe tinofanira kubata miromo yedu,” he said.

Earlier, ZANU PF national chairperson, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo had castigated the private media for irresponsible journalism.

“What I see in the so-called independent newspapers is not good. Let’s avoid being irresponsible. Let’s mourn with dignity. We should respect the dead and the Mujuru family.

“The freedom which makes you betray your own people is the freedom which was brought by General Mujuru.

“I am appealing to those in the media to search your souls and stand up to be counted. United we stand and divided we fall,” he said.

The police were yesterday still active gathering evidence to find out what happened.

Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday said investigations were in progress.

“We are still collecting all the evidence including reports from experts and organisations such as ZESA,” he said.

Snr Asst Comm Bvudzijena revealed that the post-mortem was done on Tuesday, but would not give the results.

On Tuesday, police said preliminary investigations suggest the fire could have been caused by a candle left burning in the house.

According to police, there were joint investigations by security and other organisations including the police forensic unit and ZESA Holdings.


A retired Zimbabwean army general and key figure in internal battles over President Robert Mugabe’s succession in his ZANU-PF party died in a fire at his farmhouse, official sources said on Tuesday.

General Solomon Mujuru, 67, popularly known by his guerrilla name Rex Nhongo was married to Vice-President Joice Mujuru, and was deputy head of Mugabe’s liberation army ZANLA in the 1970s.

Mujuru headed a ZANU-PF faction which wanted Joice Mujuru to eventually succeed Mugabe as party and state president, jostling against another faction headed by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Official sources said Mujuru died on Monday night at one of his commercial farms in Beatrice, 60 km (38 miles) south of the capital Harare when his house caught fire, and the roof collapsed before he could escape.

“We are still trying to get the details but apparently he died in the fire accident,” one source told Reuters, adding that the general’s vice president wife was not at home.

There was no suggestion either by authorities, or Mujuru’s family that the fire was anything but an accident.

Mujuru became Zimbabwe’s first black military commander after independence in 1980, after serving for a few months under Rhodesia’s last white general Peter Walls, retiring 1992 to take up a post in ZANU-PF’s top organ, the politburo.

Mujuru, who helped Mugabe consolidate power as leader of ZANU-PF in the 1970s, was a quiet backroom political player nicknamed “kingmaker” by his admirers – a reputation that was bolstered when he persuaded Mugabe to back his wife Joice as one of the party vice presidents at a 2004 ZANU-PF congress.

Political analysts say Mugabe, 87, is likely to have a big say on who succeeds him if and when he decides to step down and both factions publicly pledge allegiance to him.

The veteran Zimbabwean leader, in power since 1980, is still officially ZANU-PF’s candidate for presidential elections likely to be held in the next two years.

Mugabe was forced to form a unity government with main rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) after disputed elections in 2008. The fragile ZANU-PF/MDC coalition is haggling over democratic reforms, including a new constitution, before the next elections.


I am grievously pained by the death of three MDC officials on their way from our 11th anniversary celebrations which were held in Gokwe on Saturday. It is painful that barely an hour after the carnival atmosphere in Gokwe, the party was once again plunged into mourning and deep sorrow.

The three party cadres, Alex Magunda, the district chairperson for St Mary’s, Loveless Sango, the vice chairperson of the district and Innocent Muzuva, the secretary for ward 1, died while in the course of pursuing their dream of bringing about real change in Zimbabwe. I was deeply pained when I saw the lifeless bodies near the Empress Mine turn-off barely 20 minutes after the tragic accident. I followed to Kwekwe hospital and was again deeply touched by the sombre moment and the pains of the injured, especially after we had just celebrated, together,  the 11th anniversary of our great people’s movement.

As leadership, we again travelled to Chitungwiza to pay our respects to the dearly departed party cadres who had left their homes early in the morning to attend a special party occasion more than 300 kilometres away. But then fate is capricious. Our colleagues were tragically taken away from us in our moment of celebration.

Their death embodies the sad story of the MDC in the last 11 years; the story of body blow after body blow, the story of tears planted on our cheeks even on those joyous occasions meant to celebrate our great achievements in only 11 years. Many Zimbabweans have lost life and limb on our roads. While we all need to take due care and caution on our roads, a lot needs to be done to dualise these roads so that we can mitigate the carnage on our highways.

I wish a speedy recovery to the injured. To the bereaved, I say our prayers and thoughts are with you in this moment of grief. The loss is not yours alone. The party, and indeed the country, has lost true heroes of real change.


Ambulances rushed to Harare international airport on Thursday after a Boeing 767 on a flight from London was involved in an accident while landing, an aviation official said.

“I can confirm that a 767 plane coming from London has had an accident at Harare airport,” David Chawota, the head of Zimbabwe’s Civil Aviation Authority, told AFP.

“We are trying to establish what has caused the accident. We have set up an emergency help line desk to assist.”

He would not name the airline or say what exactly had happened to the plane.

But officials from South African Airways and Kenya Airways said they were told the incident was a drill.

“The airport is carrying a drill,” a Kenya Airways official said. “We also didn’t know anything about it, but there are ambulances and police around the airport to make it like a real situation.”

A British Airways spokesperson in London said none of the airline’s planes had been involved in the incident.

Air Zimbabwe chief executive officer Peter Chikumba also said none of its planes was involved.

“No it was not one of ours,” he said. “We don’t know what happened. But I am aware that it is the civil aviation which has issued that statement.”

“They called me to say there has been an accident at the airport. So I wasn’t at the airport, I am actually driving to go to there,” he added.

A Boeing 767 can carry up to 375 passengers.

In November last year, an Air Zimbabwe plane veered off the runway in Harare after hitting a group of warthogs.


Zimbabwe police say a taxi van has crashed head-on into a military bus, killing 16 people and seriously injuring three others.

Fourteen soldiers on the bus were slightly hurt in the crash late Tuesday, located about 30 miles (45 kilometres) northwest of Harare.

Police investigators blame the crash on an error by the taxi van driver. He died in the collision and had evidently tried to pass two slow-moving vehicles.

Bus crashes are common in Zimbabwe and are mainly attributed to speeding on potholed highways, poor vehicle maintenance, and shortages of spare parts and tires in the ailing economy.

At least 200 people have died in bus crashes this year.


Three senior officials from the Mutambara MDC were killed in a car crash over the weekend the party confirmed. Secretary for Lands and Agriculture  Renson Gasela, chair of the party’s disciplinary committee Lyson Mlambo and the chair of the women’s assembly for Midlands south Ntombizodwa Gumbo died when their vehicle rammed into a stationary front-loader 25km outside Zvishavane on the road to Gweru on Saturday night.

All three were returning from a party meeting in Zvishavane. A statement from the party’s spokesman Edwin Mushoriwa said six other officials were injured in the crash and are hospitalised at the United Bulawayo Hospitals. The injured include Benias Chikweya, Felix Pireyi, George Mukaro, a Ms Mhishi and the driver, Lavender Mugavhu.

The officials were returning from a party meeting in Zvishavane. The MDC-M statement said;

“The party has indeed lost dear friends and compatriots whose contribution and dedication to the fight for democracy has been beyond measure. We take solace in that the Lord has made his decision. We shall always cherish the times that we have shared with our departed compatriots though the void created by their untimely deaths will be difficult to fill.”

“MDC also extends its heartfelt sympathies to the families of those injured in the same accident who are recovering at United Bulawayo Hospital. The party wishes them a speedy recovery,” the statement added.

Gasela is a former head of the state run Grain Marketing Board before he joined opposition politics.