BIKITA – Army Major-General Engelbert Rugeje's asbestos-roofed house in Bikita was destroyed by fire in the early hours of Sunday amid fears that political violence might be on the rise as the campaign for
Mjr-Gen Rugeje (right) shares a lighter moment with War Vets Chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa
the Bikita West by-election gathers momentum, TellZim News has been informed.
Confirming the incident to TellZim News, Mjr-Gen Rugeje said he was yet to get a full report from police officers who are investigating the matter.
"I have received the sad news that my house in Bikita was gutted by fire today morning (Sunday), … I am yet to get a full report of what happened because I am not there. Although I do not have a suspect as of now, maybe some opposition members might have a hand.
"One thing that I want people to know is that I am not a violent person, I am always in my rural home when I am off duty. It is sad that newspapers have reported that I am violent when I never did anything wrong," said Mjr-Gen Rugeje.
He said he was told that something exploded in the spare bedroom of the house.
The cement brick and mortar house and other property destroyed in the inferno were estimated to be worth between US$5000-7000.
"I heard that something exploded from one of my spare bed rooms. The house was solar powered; I am not sure what could be the cause of the fire," added Mjr-Gen Rugeje.
Rugeje scoffed at reports that Zanu PF senior member Josaya Hungwe promised to hire him for violence during elections.
"I don't take orders from Minister Hungwe… I respect him because he is a minister but my orders don't come from the Pyschomotor minister. I report to my bosses in the army and to the Minister of Defence so you must not write anything just because someone said it in public. I will never be hired for violence, I am there to protect Zimbabweans and promote development," added Mjr-Gen Rugeje.
Turning to opposition and independent candidates in the Bikita West by-election who were crying foul over his presence in Bikita, Rugeje said he has never participated in any violent activity.
"What surprises me is that those opposition candidates have refuted that they hold anything bad against me. Some people are just lying in a bid to tarnish my name. I am now the victim," added Mjr-Gen Rugeje.
More to follow…..