The Bulawayo Fire Brigade has ruled out any foul play in the inferno that burnt part of Zanu PF provincial offices at Davies Hall last Thursday, saying the fire was likely to have been caused by an electrical fault.Report by Nduduzo Tshuma, Staff Reporter
The fire, which only affected the party’s finance department, reportedly destroyed financial records and party cards, prompting speculative reports that it was an inside job meant to conceal a criminal activity.
Council chief fire officer Richard Peterson yesterday told NewsDay that preliminary investigations had established that the fire was a result of an electrical fault.
“We have done our investigations and we suspect that the fire started by the wall socket where a number of boxes are exposed. We suspect something caused a spark that resulted in the fire,”
“There was a fridge, stove and fan in the office, but we are not sure if the stove and fan were connected, but the fridge’s cable was bridged with the socket wires, and the cover was removed. We suspect that there was a short circuit. We do not suspect any
This came at a time Mines minister and Zanu PF politburo member Obert Mpofu early this month alleged there was lack of transparency in the selling of party cards. The Umguza MP was addressing party supporters in Hwange.
Bulawayo provincial party insiders last week said it would now be difficult to conduct an audit of the party’s activities considering that most of the records had been destroyed in the inferno.
“It is curious that only the finance office was burnt when it is the last office within the building, giving the impression that someone got inside the premises to destroy records,” a party insider said.
“A lot of questions have been raised on whether the money collected from members who have been buying cards had been banked or properly accounted for and efforts to reconcile the cards and the money will not be possible.”
But Zanu PF politburo member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, one of the most senior party cadres in Bulawayo, dismissed the claims, urging supporters to allow for a thorough investigation into the matter.
Police are yet to release their own report on their findings.