|Born||1 May 1949|
|Died||15 August 2011
Alamein Farm, Beatrice, Zimbabwe
|Years of service||1964–1990|
|Battles/wars||Rhodesian Bush War|
Solomon Mujuru (1 May 1949 – 15 August 2011), also known by his 'Nom De Guerre' as Rex Nhongo, was a Zimbabwean military officer and politician who led Robert Mugabe's guerrilla forces during the Rhodesian Bush War. He was from the Zezuru clan. In post-independence Zimbabwe, he went on to become army chief before leaving government service in 1995. After leaving his post in the Zimbabwe National Army, he got into politics becoming Member of Parliament for Chikomba on a Zanu PF ticket. He was generally regarded as one of the most feared men in Zimbabwe. His wife, Joyce Mujuru, became Vice-President of Zimbabwe in 2004.
Rhodesian Bush War
During the Rhodesian Bush War Mujuru, with Josiah Tongogara, led the ZANLA forces when Mugabe languished in jail for 10 years from 1964 to 1974. Robert Mugabe and Edgar Tekere with the help of chief Rekayi Tangwena their medium, had slipped into Mozambique after their immediate release from jail with the active support of Mujuru, who implored guerrillas, most of whom had never met Mugabe, to accept him as their leader. "As a result Mugabe owes (Solomon) Mujuru an eternal favour," said one Zanu-PF insider.
Post-Independence Military Services
It was generally thought that Mujuru had a tremendous amount of influence on who would lead ZANU-PF and the country. He was the only person believed to have had the stature to challenge Mr Mugabe during party meetings. Newspaper reports claimed Mujuru had been under house arrest and 24-hour surveillance between 2007 and 2008 for his role in attempting to oust Mugabe. However, he remained an influential member of the ruling ZANU-PF politburo and central committees. Mujuru and his wife are among the ZANU-PF party members subject to personal sanctions imposed by the United States.
Business and Black Economic Empowerment
Mujuru was an accomplished businessman and commercial farmer, who firmly believed in indigenisation and black economic empowerment in Zimbabwea. He had diverse business ventures, which included mining, agriculture, transport, tourism and investment in the construction industry. In the mid-1990s Mujuru clashed with Emmerson Mnangagwa, long considered Mugabe's favoured heir, when Solomon bid to buy into the multi-billion dollar Zimasco, a chrome mining and smelting concern in Zimbabwe's Midlands Province.
Popular speculation is that Mujuru owned anywhere between six and sixteen farms, including Alamein Farm, seized from Guy Watson-Smith during the fast-track land reform in 2001. His seizure of Alamein Farm was at the time ruled illegal by the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe.
He had stopped at the Beatrice Hotel, 60 km south-west of Harare, drank and chatted with patrons. He was having an early night before a long journey the next day. A maid and guard at the farm testified they heard gun shots two hours before flames were seen at his farmhouse. Mujuru left groceries and his cell phone in his car, something he had never done before. The general took 40 minutes to drive from the hotel to his farm, a journey of 10 minutes.
An enquiry was opened. The lone policeman was asleep at the time, and after he awoke had no airtime and the radio was broken.
The firetruck when it arrived had no water.
The coroner investigating Mujuru's death concluded he had died of smoke inhalation, but Mujuru's family does not have confidence in the coroner's findings. They plan to petition for approval to exhume Mujuru's remains and have them independently examined by a doctor of their own choice. Mujuru's remains are located at Heroes Acre, a memorial in Zimbabwe.
- "It is universally accepted in Zanu-PF that without Solomon's active support, Mugabe would have been a nobody. Solomon and the late Josiah Tongogara led the Zanla forces", Sunday Tribune, 9 January 2005
- "Solomon Mujuru: Obituary of a Zimbabwean 'king-maker'". BBC. 16 August 2011. Retrieved 10-12-2013.
- Zimbabwe policeman 'slept during Solomon Mujuru fire'
- " Mujuru under house arrest", The Zimbabwean, 18 February 2008
- "Senior figures from within the party led by former army chief Solomon Mujuru are expected to challenge Mr Mugabe", The Zimbabwean, 18 February 2008
- "Profile: The Mujuru couple". BBC. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 10-12-2013.
- "Farm owner given minutes to leave his Farm", The London Evening Standard, 10 February 2003
- " Evicted farmer sues for return of £2m assets", The Telegraph, 24 December 2001
- " Britain must act on Zimbabwe", The London Evening Standard, 25 January 2002
- "Solomon Mujuru the farmer". The Sunday Mail. 21 Aug 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- "Mujuru condolences pour". ZBC. 16 Aug 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- Zimbabwe's General "Solomon Mujuru dies in fire". Mail and Guardian, South Africa.
- "Securocrats, Candles and a raging dictatorship". Mail & Guardian, South Africa.
- "Mujuru death no accident". The Times, South Africa.
- "Doubts raised about Mujuru's cause of death". Mail and Guardian, South Africa.
- Gonda, Violet; Thomas Chiripasi (16 March 2012). "Zimbabwe Court Rules Smoke Inhalation Killed Mujuru, Family Demands Exhumation". Voice of America. Retrieved 16 March 2012.